In the US, Black Friday marks the start of the Christmas shopping season. It is held on the day after Thanksgiving, which falls on the fourth Thursday in November. While shoppers can head in store or shop online on 25 November for Black Friday, Cyber Monday (this year on 28 November) is an online-only event.
The days are huge events in the US and generate billions of dollars in sales, but do they matter for Australian retailers? Retailbiz spoke to Matt Hoggart, co-founder of digital gift card marketplace Prezzee, who says yes they do.
First, do you think Australian consumers are aware of the Black Friday sales event?
The awareness is definitely growing. We now live in a global market and I think a lot of market trends are coming to Australia and changing consumer behaviour, for example Halloween.
Do consumers expect Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals from Australian retailers?
It is early days and still very much an American tradition, but Australian consumers can see that these days are incredibly popular and the bargains are very good. Consumer behaviour is becoming more bargain-centric.
Why is that?
It probably has a lot to do with the GFC…I think this has influenced the way retail is shaped around the world. ‘Always on sale’ is gaining traction and consumers are waiting for sales. It’s unfortunate in a way but people will wait for promotions to buy.
So why are Black Friday and Cyber Monday important for Australian retailers?
The timing is perfect—it’s a good lead-in to Christmas so instead of waiting for a huge uptick in December, retailers can bring this into November.
At Prezzee we also see it as a testing ground for our Boxing Day events. With the growth of ecommerce, it is an ever-changing landscape. Retailers and startups need to continue to refresh marketing communications and messages. Black Friday is a chance to test the waters and our sales messages in the market.
These international promotions and sales really promote local brands as well. It could be an awesome opportunity for big retailers like Myer and David Jones to bring these promotions to Australia.
How can retailers take advantage of shoppers’ desire for Black Friday sales?
Given our hungry appetite for bargains, retailers should be gearing themselves up with even bigger promotions to tempt their customers this year. If you’re an Australian business owner operating and selling to consumers globally, you would be crazy not to consider ramping up your marketing activities to promote Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
As with any marketing strategy, the best strategy is to be proactive and anticipate what your existing and new customers are looking for. Retailers need to capture their customers at every touch point and piggyback off any opportunity available [like these sales events]. Christmas is just around the corner, so any opportunity to acquire new customers is a good one.
Are there any negatives to taking part?
This retail strategy has some level of risk, as retailers choosing to partake in Black Friday may experience a sales slump at other times in the year… Some customers choose to put off purchases in exchange for the possible rewards of waiting for Black Friday or the Boxing Day sales. However, it really is a ‘no risk, no reward’ situation.
How will Prezzee be taking part in Black Friday?
As a young startup [the company launched in December last year] it’s important for Prezzee to advertise the service we provide, especially around Christmas. We are using Black Friday to promote brand awareness with digital marketing and a national radio campaign. We have something in the pipeline but all I can say is watch this space.