When the starting point of the Christmas business is debated, then Black Friday is certainly a hot candidate for it. 99% of all consumers in Germany are familiar with the shopping event, which is known for its extremely favourable offers. The annual discount hunt before the Christmas season has also long since arrived in the online trade and has even expanded to the following Cyber-Monday as another shopping day.

As one of the most profitable weekends for many companies, the following questions are of great interest for online business: What do the customers pay attention to and how do you stand out among all your competitors? Which products are in the focus of online trade and how should they be presented in order to be perceived in spite of the flood of discounts?

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Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

Originally Black Friday comes from the United States and refers to Friday after Thanksgiving. This event was originally intended to ring in a social family weekend and the upcoming Christmas season. Nowadays the sociability on Black Friday looks a bit different: Even in the early hours of the morning – usually at five o’clock – many shops and retail chains open their doors, in front of which customers (and their tents) often wait impatiently for the special offers, discounts and promotional gifts on display.

If you think about it, the English term doorbusters for the bargains you can get doesn’t sound too far-fetched. For example, according to an Adobe Analytics study, in 2017, U.S. customers made purchases for nearly $8 billion on Black Friday and subsequent shopping days. According to McKinsey, almost half of the Germans (43%) took part in Black Friday shopping in the same year.

Black Friday is increasingly taking place in local retail outlets in the USA, but online providers introduced Cyber Monday in 2010, where many shops want to attract customers with online discounts and gifts. In 2006 Apple was the first retailer in Germany to promote Black Friday with discount promotions, while the shopping event has only been taking place here since 2013. Meanwhile, German online shops in particular are advertising free deliveries and special offers on Black Friday during the entire new Cyber Week.

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Dealers must offer new incentives

Laut einer aktuellen Studie von Simon-Kucher & Partners brauchen Händler während der Tage rund um den Black Friday neue Strategien, um potenzielle Kunden zu erreichen – oder sogar zu Spontaneinkäufen zu bewegen. Denn das allgemeine Kaufinteresse ist trotz großer Bekanntheit der Rabatt Tage im Rückgang. Insbesondere die Accessoires- und Modebranche profitiert immer mehr von außergewöhnlichen Einkaufserlebnissen als von günstigen Preisen. Einen stärkeren Fokus auf Schnäppchen-Angebote legen Konsumenten dagegen weiterhin bei Elektronikartikel.

Dass sich die Anstrengungen um überzeugende Kundenmagnete für (Online-)Händler mehr als lohnen (können), zeigen unterschiedliche Studien: So ergab etwa eine europaweite Studie von Ingenico und YouGov in 2018, dass 63 Prozent der 18-24-Jährigen und 56 Prozent der 25-34-Jährigen angaben, am Black Friday shoppen zu wollen. Interessant ist das Rabattgeschäft hierbei auch für kleine Shops und Nischenhändler: Fast jeder Fünfte (19 %) gab an, gezielt bei diesen einkaufen zu wollen.

In einer weiteren Studie von Groupon, in welcher 1542 Deutsche zu ihrem Kaufverhalten befragt wurden, kam zudem heraus, dass im letzten Jahr 61 Prozent der Teilnehmer bereits den Black Friday nutzen wollten, um preiswerte Weihnachtsgeschenke zu ergattern. Aber wie ist es möglich, das Kaufinteresse der Kunden am Black Friday und den umliegenden Shopping-Tagen zurückzugewinnen?

Let the games begin!

The shopping event is often seen as a price war or discount battle between merchants across Europe for the best promotions and offers. The problem is here: The majority of Germans are sceptical about excessive discounts. They think traders deliberately drove up prices before Black Friday in order to be able to give out discounts afterwards.

In addition, customers are less and less willing to wait for random offers, and 42% of them buy the desired products exactly when they need them. After all, bargains are popular among consumers, but the classic bargain hunters make up a small proportion in Germany: the majority do not make great efforts to find the best offer online, nor would more than six percent set their alarm clock in the early morning to not miss a certain offer. High discounts are therefore all very well, but unfortunately they are usually no longer sufficient to drive up the sales figures as desired.

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5 Tips for Black Friday

Of course, the right Black Friday strategy for online merchants is always dependent on the industry. One should nevertheless consider some general tips from which all online providers can benefit:

1. Always take the concrete shopping situation of your customers into account:

A study by Salesforce, for example, shows that users prefer to shop online around Black Friday in the evening, as most orders are placed between 8 pm and 10 pm. In addition, 40% of online orders are placed via a smartphone – mobile shop presentation and user-friendliness can therefore be a decisive criterion.

2. Keep your channels up to date:

Online bargain hunters search social networks, newsletters and websites for suitable offers and compare thoroughly before they buy anything. In a study by retailmenot.com, 81% of online shoppers stated that they used up to six different channels to find out about discount campaigns.

3. Give your customers security:

Cybercrime reaches its peak at the entire Black Friday shopping event. Where there are billion-dollar expenses on just one weekend, criminal energy, fraudsters and stolen payment data are not far away. In particular, less well-known online shops should therefore invest in test seals (e.g. trusted shops) and secure payment processing and advertise with them.

4. Inform yourself and customize your keywords:

A current Taboola-survey called “Black Friday: A Who’s Who of Gifts” publishes exciting insights into online shopping behaviour at shopping events. Keywords that match the most common Google search queries, the most popular product areas and top brands are considered to be of great importance here. Clear international differences must be taken into account.

5. Think about your product presentation:

The visual presentation of products is the A&O when making a purchase decision. There are numerous studies and tips on how to increase the interest of online customers with well thought-out image and video placements. For example, high-quality photos are more popular than illustrations and pictures of people arouse additional interest.