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Is Black Friday’s real opportunity the building of long-lasting customer acquisition?

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This year’s Black Friday will present an opportunity to build new, loyal customers – even if sales and profits aren’t a high – according to data from Conversant.

While the average order value from last year’s Black Friday shoppers remained almost identical to the majority of ‘regular’ customers, the period has the potential to attract – and retain – new buyers, the personalised digital media company says.

Conversant’s analysis shows that the average order value from a new customer on Black Friday of 2018 sat at around £75, fluctuating between £70 and £85 across the week – almost identical to that of a ‘regular’ customer. 

“’Peak Week’ has historically been seen as a time for bargain hunters, but over the past few years retailers have seen a gradual plateauing of sales in favour of higher orders throughout the surrounding month,” explains Elliott Clayton, SVP at Conversant. “While the sales peak in ‘Peak Week’ will be less pronounced, retailers will see an increase in sales over a longer period, plus gain new customers who will come back for more over the following 12 months. It’s a valuable, long-term opportunity, rather than the short, sharp sales rush it’s normally considered as.”

Data from IMRG – a UK-based online retail association – indicates that 2019’s Black Friday will be the worst on record for some years, with only 2-3% growth in sales for some sectors. However, Conversant’s analysis shows that the week and weeks surrounding Peak Week still represent an opportunity for retailers to secure new, loyal customers – in fact, almost 20% (19.4%) of new customers during this period will return to buy again.

“We’re increasingly seeing Black Friday evolve into a mature, accepted shopping period, where retailers can secure returning shoppers who will deliver genuine value,” concluded Clayton. “It has not historically been seen as a good time for long-term lead generation, but this has clearly shifted in recent years. Marketers who adjust their strategies, understand and adapt to consumer preferences can significantly boost their long-term pipeline and make a real, revenue-driving difference to their brands.” 

Six steps to ensure the peak trading sales buzz continues well into the New Year

With peak trading season almost upon us, online retailers are honing their sales strategies and preparing to pull out all the stops to attract new customers with deals, incentives, and exclusive content. But just imagine: what if they could maintain this sales momentum into the New Year, rather than it simply being a case of ‘one and done’?

Here, Rob Massa, General Manager at BounceX EMEA gives his six top tips for how to reach new customers, hyper-personalise their shopping experience, and ensure they keep coming back for more into January and beyond.

Know your customer at every touchpoint 

Peak trading can trigger a deluge of new customers visiting a retailer’s website for the first time. Whether these visitors make a purchase or just browse, retailers must ensure they can identify their site visitors and link that shopper to the various devices they use during their journey to purchase across. Thanks to identification, retailers can leverage personalisation and triggered email to send messages that truly resonate with shoppers based on the actions they took onsite. With market-leading solutions, retailers like the US ladies fashion retailer Boston Proper have been able to increase onsite identification levels by 200% and massively increase revenue from triggered emails as a result.

Ensure mobile experience is prioritised

Multi-tasking shoppers are at their most time-poor during the run up to the festive holiday. This means they’re more likely to convert on the go while using their mobile phone. In fact, it’s predicted that the share of consumers converting on mobile will break 50% for the first time during Cyber Week 2019. The key takeaway here is that a fast and optimised mobile experience will be defining factor for shoppers, driving sales not only this Christmas but into the New Year. 

Set up inventory-based triggers

Once you’ve achieved shopper identification, it is possible to see visitors’ onsite actions and reveal key shopper behaviours. For example, they may browse a product without buying or they may be unable to buy because the item is out of stock. Retailers are advised to capture these behaviours so that they can trigger price-drop, low-stock and back-in-stock emails when inventory levels finally change days, weeks, or months further down the line.

Let customers try before they buy

Next-generation consumer credit solutions are removing the anxiety from ecommerce—enabling customers to touch, feel, and try on products before they part with a penny. Such solutions mean the financial risk is shouldered by a third-party credit provider, barriers to conversion are reduced and the customer can bring the fitting room into their own home. 

Automate segments for email, SMS and ads

Forget the ‘carpet-bombing’ approach to customer messaging—this is the quickest way to earn spam status for your brand. Instead, organise your messaging according to customer behaviours like repeat shoppers, replenishment needs for consumable products, and gift giver/gift receiver segments. US online skincare brand Supergoop, for example, have driven revenue by automating segments for replenishment, as well as reviews, product information, and ‘pairs well’ recommendations for particular SKUs.

When will they shop again?

Retailers shouldn’t simply wait for a customer to order again to interact with them. Instead, they should use behavioural analysis to predict when they are most likely to commit a repeat purchase and pre-empt their actions with a triggered email. Armed with this kind of data it’s also possible to build up an idea of customer lifetime value. This is the strategy successfully adopted by online organic linen brand Coyuchi, which has mixed this approach with offers such as free shipping, 30-day free trials, and free returns. 


The key to capitalising on the surge of extra ecommerce customers during peak trading is the ability to identify and track not just cookies and devices but individual shoppers. Only when retailers can achieve this persistent identification of customers across their sales channels and consumers’ multiple devices will they be able to get the most from the steps outlined here and maintain the peak trading sales momentum well into the New Year.

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