Despite the madness and chaos often shown on TV for Black Friday, there’s more to a good sale than just crowds. And while 170 million shoppers participated in Black Friday last year, for most businesses, real success on Black Friday rests on one component: knowing your customer.
It used to be that the most attention-grabbing part of Black Friday promotions was time-limited amazing bargains. However, for the past few years, there have been warning signs that some consumers are getting bored of the price wars —and of the in-store battles. This frustration is leading to a mounting number of returns, which are hurting, rather than helping, retailers’ Black Friday margins.
Who is Your Customer?
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 personalized 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. And in this day and age, most of them expect personalization. This is how you truly build growing relationships.
Harvest and Use Your Data
But how do you create this single view? Your analytics and digital insight can — and should — help you customize your campaigns and drive your business via improved targeting and improved personalization. With the right systems in place, you can create a Customer DNA, which allows you to build profiles of your customers based on their historical and real-time behavior. Once you have that, you’re able to anticipate customers’ needs and deliver what they want, when they want it and how they want it, providing the basis for a greater customer experience.
If you haven’t already digitized your customer life cycle, you’re missing out on valuable insight and likely wasting money and resources on misdirected campaigns. A Customer Data Platform (CDP) can help you hone your data and optimize your marketing efforts in real time.
Loyalty Trumps Sales
The beauty of increased brand loyalty is that it usually also includes decreased price sensitivity. There’s no need to start sporadically discounting goods if your loyal customer base is content buying at full price. Ultimately, while no one is going to say ‘no’ to a good deal, price is no longer the definitive factor in influencing the consumer buying decision. Instead, it comes down to the customer journey. Quite frankly, all they’re really craving is an optimized customer experience that surpasses their previous experiences and heightens their current expectations of your brand. In other words, they want to feel special.
According to Forrester there’s a 3-step process you should undertake to understand the customer journey:
- Build a customer journey map highlighting the moments of engagement
- Prioritize the moments and processes based on the benefit to customers and the value to you
- Pursue a two-path road map to move quickly while laying the foundations for the future
Improved Customer Experience
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. By engaging with potential and current customers before the sale, brands can get a jump on the competition. Rather than a competition on price, Black Friday then becomes 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.