Black Friday, the retail phenomenon from the US (not the Friday 13th variety), is now well and truly part of the Kiwi retail calendar. Last year, online searches for ‘Black Friday Sales’ jumped by more than 75% in New Zealand, and interest continues to build every year.
While we’re unlikely to witness the chaotic and occasionally violent scenes of stampeding shoppers that occur overseas, it is clear Black Friday is already posing a challenge to Boxing Day as our biggest traditional shopping day.
NZ Post is already advertising online to encourage Kiwis to take advantage of the deep discounts offered by overseas retailers. But according to Google, 53% of Kiwi consumers still prefer to shop domestically, put off by factors such as high shipping costs.
So can smaller businesses and retailers get in on the action? Absolutely, according to Google New Zealand.
First, the day is about one-off deals. These do not need to be deep discounts offered by giant retailers. But Black Friday is about time limited offers unavailable on any other day.
Second, Black Friday is all about the Internet, and is far from a one day-event. Research shows Kiwi customers are looking online for deals well in advance of Black Friday, with searches for ‘gifts’ rising steadily over the past month.
If you are considering adwords or other online advertising, start early. It’s also important to incorporate popular terms like ‘Black Friday’, ‘Black Friday NZ’ or ‘Black Friday 2016’ into your online strategy.
Third, Black Friday is all about mobile. Google’s Consumer Barometer shows 43% of Kiwi consumers are now researching purchases on their smartphones, and 36% are using them to make purchases in physical stores. ‘Micromoments’ like browsing at the bus stop are driving buyer decisions rather than extensive online research.
This means it’s critical to ensure customers have a great mobile experience. Make sure your website as smartphone friendly, your contact details are clear and are text-based so people can tap them to call you or to find you with driving directions.
Small businesses may not have the marketing clout or other advantages of bigger retailers, but with some planning and creative thinking ahead of time, there is no reason they cannot win on Black Friday.