Black Ink On Black Friday: Retailers Expect Sales Boosts This Year

Black Friday is creeping up on us. And brands are looking forward to it with the enthusiasm of children on Christmas morning.

Retailers expect an average revenue increase of 28.7% over the same period in 2018, according to the Shape of Peak To Come, a study by Yieldify. And 72.9% predict an online sales hike of at least 10%. To get it, 84.8% of all retail brands plan to offer discounts.

In addition, companies expect a 22% hike year-over-year on Cyber Monday, and 29% for the season as a whole. 

And U.S. retailers are “generally slightly merrier in their outlook, predicting an average Black Friday revenue increase of 29%, compared to 22% for their UK counterparts.”

Yieldify interviewed over 400 retailers in the US and the U.K., including multichannel firms and pure-play digital outfits.



It found that as in the past, email will be the dominant channel for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday shopping in general.

Indeed, email is “a top tactic for promoting peak offers as well as converting visitors into customers,” the report states.

Website personalization is second as a tactic, followed by paid social and display. Direct mail is eighth, and SEO is even further down on the list.

Email remarketing is second as a conversion tactic, falling behind highlighting free delivery, although those two tactics are not exactly comparable.

Strangely, pure-play outfits are least likely to use email for remarketing, ranking far below multichannel retailers. Still, “email again makes an appearance,” and is a strong remarketing tactic, the report notes.

For email to work — for anything — brands should have a solid lead capture program in place prior to peak. And for this they need data.

“Implementing a strategy early to collect this data will help offset the sizable investments in acquisition that you’re making around Black Friday in particular, allowing for engagement with consumers throughout peak,” the study notes.

Speaking of peaks, Black Friday is no longer a one-day event — only 15% see it as such, versus 25% who feel the same about Cyber Monday. 

Almost 20% of pure-play firms will run promotions for six days or more, compared with 11% of the overall total.

U.S. merchants are the most forward-thinking — 18% will run promotions for six days. Only 3.7% of UK brands will do so.

At the same time, pure-play firms are most likely to opt out of Black Friday. Go figure. 

All that said, brands are bedeviled by many challenges. Here are the main ones: 

  • Delivery logistics — 27.8% 
  • Discounting eating into margin — 22.9% 
  • How to retain customers after Black Friday — 24.8% 
  • Optimizing my website — 24.8%

The study concludes that “pure play e-commerce retailers are leading in moving away from reliance on discounts and promotions toward a longer-term personalization strategy.” 

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