This year’s Black Friday delivered the highest sales volumes in comparison to any prior year in Australia, with a 9% increase in transactions from 2019 according to GBG’s own data. As part of a four-day cyber weekend event, Black Friday also delivered 72% more transactions than the last day of the event, Cyber Monday.
While Black Friday signalled a major day of shopping and business opportunities for retailers, taking a broader look at consumer behaviour shows there are plenty more opportunities to come beyond this particular event. With Christmas and Boxing Day just around the corner, now is the time for retailers to get their shops in order.
Taking a longer-term lens to shopping events
As consumers are rallying around online shopping events and wanting to take advantage of timely sales seasons, while retailers want to broaden the window of opportunity and minimise the risk of downtime due to overwhelming traffic peaks, it has been an ongoing trend for these shopping festivals to get extended with each coming year.
This year, due to the pandemic, consumers have been particularly worried about gifts not being delivered in time for Christmas and many are also under more financial pressure than in previous years due to the economic downturn. The knock-on effect for retailers that have to respond quickly to customer demand has been an even further extension of traditional shopping events, with many merchants offering sales several days or even weeks on either side of Black Friday.
This trend is anticipated to continue leading up to Boxing Day sales, and into 2021, as shoppers take a savvier approach to getting the most return for their shopping dollar. Already, the Click Frenzy Boxing Day Showcase is being promoted to last throughout December 25-28, rather than just on December 26. Interestingly, November’s Click Frenzy event, according to GBG’s data, saw a 3% increase in transactions from 2019 on Day 1, and a 9% increase on Day 2. Consequently, for retailers planning ahead and wanting to make the most of Boxing Day sales, it would be wise to recognise the ‘day’ is now a multi-day marathon, with each day presenting different opportunities.
Technology needs to meet frenzy-level shopper habits
Retailers that have been fortunate enough to benefit from 2020’s ecommerce boom would have already seen first-hand the importance of a seamless online customer experience, and the impact this can have on accelerating sales, maintaining customer loyalty, and maximising online conversions. Underpinning each of these benefits is savvy investment in the right technology platforms that keep the busy and digitally-minded consumer in mind.
Recent research shows that Australian retailers experience cart abandonment rates as high as 76%. As Carol Chris, Regional General Manager Australia at GBG, recently shared with Ticker TV, aspects of the customer journey such as auto-populating personal and address information can help deliver the fast and seamless customer experience many online shoppers are looking for when they’re under time pressures to buy products that are on sale and quickly selling out.
Just as importantly, having technology that automatically inputs information accurately and securely can minimise the risks of deliveries ending up at the wrong doorstep and the potential threats of online fraud and financial crime. Particularly leading up to Christmas and after what has been a stressful year for many, consumers are likely to be less forgiving than usual of these kinds of errors.
As retailers plan for Boxing Day sales and beyond, there is little wiggle room for a pause or reduction in proactive customer engagement. More than ever, consumers are looking to retailers to help them make smart decisions for Christmas gifts on tighter budgets. Consumers will also be looking to align with brands that are transparently and proactively investing in their online customer experiences. To ensure your business is at the top of consumers’ consideration as they cement their online shopping habits going into 2021, having the right technology in place that aligns with long-term customer engagement strategies will be critical.
For more information about GBG’s address verification solution, Loqate, visit https://www.loqate.com/anz/
For more information about GBG’s retail solutions, visit https://www.loqate.com/anz/solutions/retail/
Watch Carol Chris, Regional General Manager ANZ, GBG discussing the biggest holiday sales events of the year on Ticker TV.