Success on Black Friday rests on one key piece of wisdom: know your customer. Previously, the most attention-grabbing part about Black Friday promotions was time-limited amazing bargains. However, now there are signs that some consumers are getting bored of the price wars. This is leading to a mounting number of returns which are hurting, rather than helping, retailers’ Black Friday profits.
In a rush to get shoppers through the door (or clicks through to their sites) retailers are ignoring their most valuable assets: their loyal customers. By understanding what their customers want, it becomes easier to provide them with personalised offers before the sales even start. Nowadays, companies have more customer data than ever at their disposal – but often they’re not leveraging this to its full potential. The key rests in creating a single view of each customer and treating them as individuals; that is the way to build growing relationships.
However, today’s customers are constantly on the go and multi-tasking throughout the day. Whether it’s checking work emails while dropping the kids off at school, or browsing news apps on the commute to work – we’re wired in. We’re constantly looking for the most convenient ways to live our lives, and this includes doing business with service providers who can give us the greatest value. But this also means that the retailer’s view of the customer has become convoluted. This is impacting customer experience because brands can’t follow an individual customer’s experience across different channels and media. In the frenzy of sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, receiving mixed messages from retailers can be frustrating and a major ‘turn-off’ from purchasing.
Time pressures are also having a wider impact in customer experiences for today’s digital economy. Building relationships comes with more frequent, but shorter interactions. Years ago, customers would interact with their service providers at the local branch or office. They would have face-to-face conversations that would take some time, but they only happened on an as-needed basis. Now, customers have more access points to their service providers, mainly digitally. They can interact via your website or app, through phone calls, emails, texts, and via social media and chat. These kinds of interactions take less time than an in-person visit, but they happen much more frequently. They are also more superficial than in-person interactions, making it even more important to have each one count.
If retailers want to attract new customers through Black Friday, and make them stay, they need to ensure that the customer experience isn’t compromised by the rush and panic of the Black Friday sales.
Getting personal about the customer experience means being specific, being relevant and being quantitative. You can’t relate to things that you don’t understand, and understanding your customers’ wants and needs means being able to describe them with quantitative metrics. You need to truly understand your customers to be able to interact beneficially with them, and you can only accomplish this by having all the data organised in a meaningful and useful manner, always updated, accessible and available in real-time. That way, you can deliver the most relevant and timely customer experiences – the kind of experiences you, as a customer, would want.
If retailers want to attract new customers through Black Friday, and make them stay, they need to ensure that the customer experience isn’t compromised by the rush and panic of the Black Friday sales. The way to do this is, of course, knowing your customer. By engaging with potential customers before the sale, brands can turn the tables on the competition. Rather than a competition on price, Black Friday is now about providing the best customer experience. Companies that don’t get it right might still have great sales, but it could be to the detriment of their long-term financial wellbeing.