Interviews, insight & analysis on Ecommerce

Preparing for peak season — Four lessons for heading into Black Friday 2022

By James McCormick, VP of Marketing, Contentsquare

The countdown is on. With Black Friday just weeks away, retailers and brands are at the height of their digital experience and optimisation efforts. The next few weeks will be essential for retailers looking to beat the competition and ensure the peak ‘sales season’ cements loyalty among their customers.

So, what should retailers be doing now to prepare for this busy period? And what lessons can be learned from last year’s sales season that will help retailers achieve their goals this year?

To understand these questions, the Contentsquare team hit the archives, analysing over four billion digital shopping sessions between October and November 2021. Using real-world data from many of the world’s biggest brands, Contentsquare looked at shopping trends across six industries including consumer electronics, fashion, groceries, beauty, consumer goods, and luxury across five regions of the world (North America, West Europe, North Europe, DACH and APAC).

Across all of these regions, four consistent trends emerged; trends that retailers must build into their 2022 sales season approach if they are going to achieve even bigger sales this year.

1. Not every shopper is in a rush — All too often, speed and urgency are promoted as the key to major holiday events like Black Friday. Retailers want to put their customers in a ‘buy it or lose it’ mindset, encouraging them to make snap decisions that they may later regret. This isn’t the way to go. If brands value their customers’ experiences, they need to think about what’s best for them, and that can mean going slow and giving them more time to think. Last year, shoppers spent +10% longer per buying session over the Black Friday weekend, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If a customer finds their perfect product or deal, they’re far more likely to come back in the future.

2. Brand recognition beats paid promotion — Everyone knows that you need to take an omnichannel approach, but when thinking this through, it’s important not to forget your own channels as well as external sources like paid advertising or media campaigns. Sure, cutting through the noise via paid media campaigns will generate awareness for your peak sales season offers, but ensuring your owned channels also reflect those campaigns result in far higher offer-based conversions from direct traffic. In fact, while paid acquisition drove the highest number of visitor sessions, Contentsquare’s analysis shows that users who landed direct were significantly more likely to convert.

3. Mobile is king… — No surprises here. Last Black Friday weekend saw a +90% uplift in mobile traffic, compared to the month before. In fact, over Black Friday 2021, 68% of all shopping traffic was via mobile. Clearly, mobile is the device of choice when shopping over the holiday season, so the most vital thing for brands is to ensure that their promotions and campaigns are all mobile-optimised to achieve the best user experience possible.

4. …But don’t forget desktop — During last year’s peak sales season, global desktop traffic increased by +46% compared to the previous month. That is a huge boom. While brands must focus their efforts on optimising for mobile, it’s important that they don’t forget desktop shopping and the role that laptops and desktop devices still play in the shopping experience. It’s important to meet customers wherever they are, and that means delivering campaigns that are optimised for both mobile and desktop to maximise conversion.

To understand the future, you need to look to the past. By looking at last year’s data, retailers and brands can understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to sales season campaigns. This year, data and analytics will be vital in that task, helping brands understand Black Friday shoppers, optimise their current digital experiences, and ultimately work out what makes their customers click.


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