How Will COVID-19 Change Black Friday? 

As we approach the most extensive shopping season of the year —Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday season— many businesses wonder how the COVID-19 will affect this period. Most likely, crowded stores, long lines, and Thanksgiving evening shopping trips will not be featured. According to experts, Black Friday will still happen, despite the pandemic. But your business should be concerned about how it will take place. How will COVID-19 Change Black Friday and the holiday season shopping experience? What should your company do to prepare? 

How Will COVID-19 Change Black Friday?

Sales Will Start Early

A look at how many major retailers are handling the situation can be insightful. Target, Walmart, Macy’s and many other big retailers will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Remember, Black Friday is not just Thanksgiving night or the day after. It is the kick-off of the intensified shopping season of the holidays. As your business prepares, you are not only planning for a weekend but really a whole month of possible sales increase.

In fact, many stores will begin their holiday season early, since more consumers are conscious about their spending habits. Consumers in the age of uncertainty can not afford to rush out to the store last minute or miss massive discounts, so they will be looking to shop smart and early

Sales Will Shift Further Online 

Online shopping during Black Friday is nothing new as the installment of Cyber Monday can attest to this. Statistics of 2019 Black Friday weekend showed that there was more online shopping than in-store. So this was a trend that many businesses had long seen on the rise. All the pandemic has done is pushed e-commerce further into explosive growth. 

A few other online shopping experiences that will be prominent this year include product delivery services and curbside pickup. Since the spring of this year, many retailers have already made use of these options. Black Friday will call for an efficient and easily communicated process. 

 What Your Business Should Do 

Time to act on what we’ve discussed so far. Here are three things your business can do to prepare for the pandemic shopping season. 

Start early. As mentioned, consumers are shopping smart by starting early. Sales are expected to start picking up in October. By October or the end of the month, you should have your sales plan ready! For example, Target has already announced it will close its stores on Thanksgiving and will start offering holiday deals in October. What do you plan to offer? Could you possibly offer free shipping or other incentives? People are looking to purchase for the holidays early to avoid crowding in-store. Now you must create your marketing and sales plans. So, by the following month, you can start communicating with your audience.

Plan for a powerful promotion. Which platforms your website ready to handle an influx of traffic in terms of support, e-commerce, or contact injuries? Does your website provide enough information for potential customers? How are you communicating with your audience online? Do you practice successful social media and email marketing habits? If you find these questions are overwhelming, our monthly webinars are made to help you make the most of digital marketing with the best tips and practices. 

Ensure the very best customer experience. The last thing you want to do is plan early only to lose customers. Ask yourself, what is the online purchasing process for my customers? Have you tested out the shopping experience on your website? Additionally, plan out curbside pickup and delivery options. Making these options available can increase business and provide a happy customer experience. Furthermore, once you have a detailed plan, you can easily communicate that to your customers. 

How can you mimic the in-store shopping experience? One way to implement cross-selling. Cross-selling online may involve suggested or recommending related or other products. Just like in-store a shopper may end up leaving the store with more than planned, you can promote additional products online with a “Other Also Bought…” or “You May Also Like…” sections.

The holiday shopping season of 2020 can be successful for your business. But it’s up to you to adapt to the changes world events have brought upon us. Need help planning your marketing? Schedule a call today!

Karen Leonard
August 31, 2020

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