Love it or hate it, Black Friday is a holiday tradition and seen as a mark of the country’s economic stability. While retailers and financial analysts have long-watched sales to identify trends and track spending, public relations professionals can also learn a few lessons about what 2013 has in store from the shopping mayhem.
After reviewing the results, I’ve identified three Black Friday trends that I believe communicators should take into consideration as they prep for 2013.
- Tablet Takeover: Among the most popular items purchased during Black Friday were tablets and smart phones. Notably, Apple’s iPad topped the charts. Piper Jaffray reported that the Apple store sold 11 iPads per hour on Black Friday at The Mall of America. This holiday season will turn more consumers into tablet and smart phone users, raising the question, is your brand ready to handle this new wave of consumer expectations? As mobile devices become more ubiquitous consumers will expect to browse your website, grab a discount or be pushed the latest news while on the go. Take time to audit your digital assets and prepare a plan that will ensure a mobile-friendly user experience in 2013. Consider redesigning your website to take advantage of responsive design or a mobile app that consumers can download to keep up with the latest news.
- Couch Convenience: This year, Black Friday shoppers turned to the Web for deals at record rates. According to comScore, U.S. consumers spent $1.042 billion online – a 26% increase over last year. If your brand isn’t active in the e-commerce space you could be missing out on an opportunity. Convenience is critical for many consumers. Enabling shopping through desktop, mobile and even social media networks such as Facebook lessens the steps from initial interest to purchase. Forrester Research estimates that 192 million U.S. consumers will shop online in 2016, an increase of 15% from 2012. Forrester also estimates these consumers will spend 44% more on average as compared to 2012. If your brand is viable for online sales but has yet to take the plunge, consider e-commerce in 2013. Can’t build an e-commerce site in 2013? Consider other online sales avenues. Sites such as Alice.com offer options for retailers looking to supply product to an established e-commerce site. On the social media side, Payvment offers brands storefronts on Facebook.
- Loyalty Lovers: Everyone likes to feel special time and again. The same goes for your consumers. Black Friday demonstrated that consumers are savvy when it comes to finding deals on the Web and expect to be rewarded for their loyalty. Consumers report using social media sites to track insider sales and turning to their smart phones for instant deals when in-store this Black Friday. Whether you are able to implement a year-round loyalty program or explore timely opportunities to reward consumers, consider ways to make your consumers feel loved in 2013.
Black Friday may seem an unlikely source for communications inspiration, but the shopping trends speak volumes to consumer expectations today. Thinking about mobile devices, e-commerce options and customer appreciation are three areas that could benefit your brand in 2013.