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How will Covid-19 impact Black Friday, and what can online sellers do to prepare?

online-sellerHow will Covid-19 impact Black Friday, and what can online sellers do to prepare?
Black Friday is fast approaching, and with the uncertainty coronavirus and a second lockdown has brought, this year is like nothing we have seen before.
This year online sales will dominate as non-essential shops close for lockdown, which includes 27th November, Black Friday.
Ecommerce shops have an opportunity to make a greater impact this Black Friday and Cyber Monday as more consumers shop online, many for the first time, but how has coronavirus changed things for online sellers and how can they increase sales?

What impact will coronavirus have on Black Friday?

The growth of online sales during 2020 offers valuable insight into what to expect this Black Friday.
The Covid-19 pandemic has driven online sales nearly as high as a third of total retail sales in the UK, up from about a fifth before lockdown and stronger than the 21% of November and December 2019.
Added to this, the impact of coronavirus is reflected in UK online retail sales hitting nearly £2.2bn at the height of lockdown in May, far higher than the £1.8bn spent online in November 2019 for last year’s Black Friday.
Although there are differences in sector spending between lockdown and last Black Friday, such as groceries, Adobe Analytics forecast that revenue is set to increase by 20% for this Black Friday compared to last year, but this was before the second UK lockdown.
Black Friday will now be an almost exclusively online affair as non-essential retailers close their doors until at least the start of December, and it could be longer.
The means Black Friday will no longer be just a single day and extends deals for a month or more as companies ease the strain of greater demand by spreading out orders and deliveries.
This is reflected in Amazon starting deals earlier, with its two-day Prime event that took place on 13th and 14th October and month-long Black Friday Deals that started on Monday 26th October.
So, this will likely mean consumers make their purchases earlier and potentially use the Black Friday weekend for their Christmas shopping as consumers perceive delivery slots and stock becoming increasingly limited.

What differences could we see in ecommerce?

This year has been far from predictable, but one thing for sure is that online sellers need to be ready for increased competition as brick-and-mortar retailers turn to ecommerce.
Additionally, consumers unable to shop in store gives online sellers the opportunity to break the perception that the best deals can only be found in physical stores.
If online sales since the start of the pandemic are to go by, this year’s Black Friday will provide new opportunities for sectors that don’t usually experience as much of a sales spike.
Online sales during and post lockdown have seen a boom in sectors such as DIY, household appliances, and fitness equipment, which in turn could see some sectors sales dip.
In line with the coronavirus driven shift of online sales, there will be more first-time online shoppers using ecommerce shops for their Black Friday purchases.
This year, it’s not just about price and discount, coronavirus and world events have driven a rise in conscientious consumers who value brands who have shown social responsibility and sensitivity to community and ethical consumerism.

How can online sellers prepare for Black Friday?

With under a month to go until Black Friday, your plans will likely be firmly in place, with stock levels and strategy set.
But this year it’s key to be flexible, so what sometimes overlooked preparations should you consider and how can you adapt to the uncertainty?
Adapt email campaigns
Your strategy to build anticipation of deals in social media and email campaigns is probably underway but be prepared to be flexible and quickly adapt closer to the day.
If your targeted email segments aren’t hitting the open rates you want, have ways to entice shoppers, such as free delivery for ‘seasonal shoppers’ and ‘first-time visitors’ lists, or have deals in reserve for customers who received, but didn’t open an email on the same day.
The more targeted and more options you have to draw in shoppers to open your email, the higher click through rates you’ll get – be prepared to adapt lists quickly.
Shift promotions to focus on high-interest products
With tighter coronavirus restrictions coming into force each day, consumer interests are shifting rapidly as well.
So, you may have promotions based on data from last month but keep an eye on analytics and be prepared to change your promotions based on traffic to high-interest products.
If we are facing a second coronavirus wave and another lockdown, product data from earlier in the pandemic could be invaluable for consumer insight.
Invest in loyalty and a returns plan
As online shopping could be set to dominate, customer retention is vital.
Offering loyalty rewards in the lead to Black Friday and after will encourage customers to return for the Christmas shopping season.
In addition, you’re bound to get significant returns from impulse buys, or first-time online customers getting to grips with online shopping.
With increased ecommerce competition, it’s key to make returns as simple as possible. So, make sure your returns policy is up-to-date and that customers receive a good returns experience, it’ll keep them coming back.
Show off user generated content and product reviews
As competition will be greater than ever and more new shoppers visit your site, make sure product reviews and user generated content are easily visible, it’ll set you apart.
Use real-time social feeds to product pages and emails to make customers a marketing asset that showcase your products and deals through November, it’ll demonstrate to shoppers your strong promotions and build momentum for Christmas.
Check your site is mobile optimised
It may seem obvious, but it can’t be overstated how important a mobile optimised site is as approximately 70% of ecommerce spend worldwide is on a mobile device.
So, make sure you carry out last-minute mobile site checks and that popovers and deal banners are mobile-friendly.
Use Black Friday to capture data
With Covid-19 bringing more first-time online shoppers and increased traffic, Black Friday is a golden opportunity to increase your customer base going into Christmas by capturing customer data.
Use offers of discounts and Black Friday deal alerts to grow your email list using popovers and countdown timers to create urgency and drive signups, which will give you the opportunity to inspire loyalty leading up to Christmas.
Black Friday this year will be a completely different experience for online sellers. As Amazon has shown by starting deals at the end of October, Black Friday this year will begin earlier and be more spread out, influencing Christmas shopping habits.
Online traffic and sales could hit new highs as lockdown drives consumers to shop online and plan early for Christmas to guarantee delivery slots and make sure they get the product they want.
Another way to maximise your revenue for Black Friday is to ensure you’re getting the best possible return on earnings accrued from international sales.
As a leading currency transfer provider we can help with this – simply contact our team to find out more: [email protected], +44 (0) 20 7847 9400.
Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct is one of Europe's leading non-bank providers of currency exchange and international payment services. Since we were formed in 1996, we've maintained our focus on providing innovative foreign exchange and international currency transfer services to corporations of all sizes, online sellers and private individuals. We have also expanded our services to provide dynamic and pioneering "business to business" solutions to help companies, tier 2/3 banks and other non-bank financial institutions to process their international payments. Our headquarters are in the City of London (United Kingdom) and we have operations in continental Europe, Africa, Asia, and the United States. Currencies Direct is jointly owned by private equity firms Palamon Capital Partners and Corsair Capital.

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