With only four weeks to go until Christmas, Black Friday madness is about commence.
Although the trend is less than ten years old, already consumers are beginning to question the value of the deals on offer and re-evaluate their trust in retailers that pedal the deals.
With such vast revenues generated during the sale, marketers will be looking for ways to rebuild consumer trust in brands for the busiest season of the year.
For a relatively young phenomenon (City AM reports that although in the USA Black Friday deals have existed since as early as 1940, it wasn’t until 2010 that the trend really hit UK retailers), it could come as a surprise that customer’s interest and trust is already beginning to wane.
But this is exactly what has been reported in the UK tabloid press recently, with the Mirror pointing to a survey from research consultancy Future Thinking which showed 50% of people believe that Black Friday deals are little more than a “marketing gimmick”.
The Telegraph also ran a similar article at the end of October, claiming data collected by Love The Sales shows that in terms of the number of products priced at a discount, Black Friday is actually below average for the year.
For Mobile Marketing Magazine, it is statistics like these that mean ‘shoppers are less likely to get involved in Black Friday sales in physical stores this year’.’ With ‘48 per cent of UK respondents confirm[ing] that they have no plans to shop on Black Friday’, this could spell bad news for brands hoping to boost revenues in the final quarter.
What does this mean for Black Friday marketing strategies?
For marketers, the question of whether this trend towards waning trust should ring alarm bells and act as a catalyst for a change in strategy is a potent one.
Commentators have already argued for a streamlining of strategy to ensure that Black Friday is as tailored to shoppers’ needs as possible.
For e-commerce and consumer analytics organisation Connexity, ‘in the week leading up to Black Friday, retailers need to acutely align their digital advertising and communication to meet consumer demand.’
The same article also noted that, since Black Friday is such a fast moving and predominantly digital event, brands ‘need to track their competitors on the hour, particularly the referring channels, in order to safeguard online visibility and visit traffic’.
Econsultancy has also made an interesting comparison between US and UK marketers’ approach to generating sales. Their recent article argued ‘US brands are dominating UK search results’, pointing to a need for greater optimisation and research into crucial trends and keywords among UK brands.
How can marketers rebuild consumer trust in brands?
Although sales and revenues still look likely to be high, marketers will be looking to bring back some confidence in Black Friday.
Many industry experts recommend content marketing as an effective way to build a trusting relationship between brand and consumer.
For Econsultancy, ‘the brands that do content marketing better than their competition are the companies that realise at the end of the day content marketing is about building trust.’
The article recommends focusing on measurable outcomes to help shape your content marketing, and ensuring that your key marketing messages are easy to recognise, understand and relate to. Amidst the Black Friday frenzy, this simplicity could be key to drawing consumers to your brand as opposed to the competition.
Marketing Land also has some useful tips for building trust, and argues that nurturing credibility should be one of your key goals.
The article argues that ‘when customers can easily check the reputation of any company with a quick Google search, and make purchasing decisions based on website rankings and customer comments, reputation management becomes paramount.’ With so much of Black Friday’s spending looking set to be done online, this is an important point to note to capitalise upon the event.
Whatever your brand aims this Black Friday, remembering to put the consumer first is the order of the day. Through genuine, relatable marketing strategy organisations can overcome the waning trust of shoppers and generate those all-important seasonal sales.