3 e-commerce tips retailers can leverage ahead of Black Friday 2020
Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast projected that e-commerce holiday spending will grow by 25% to 35% year-over-year. Despite economic uncertainty and high unemployment rates—two key concerns among respondents to a Bizrate Insights’ survey around holiday spending in November 2020—56% of online shoppers surveyed plan to spend “about the same” on holiday shopping compared to last year.
Bizrate Insights surveyed more than 1,000 online shoppers about their plans for holiday shopping in early November 2020. While the 2020 holiday shopping season is still full of unknowns, there are several learnings we can share with retailers ahead of Cyber 5—the period of Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.
Below are a few of the key results and takeaways that retailers can leverage to increase their sales ahead of Black Friday 2020 and the remainder of the holiday shopping season.
1. Gift cards are going to be an easy win.
Gift cards are always a good present, and not just because they’re guaranteed to be the right size. They’re easy to buy, wrap, and you can purchase a handful at once to give to your entire shopping list.
What’s even better is that gift cards are essentially 2020-proof. Many retailers offer digital gift cards that you can purchase online and share via email so that even if you’re forgoing in-person gatherings this year, you can still share a bit of holiday cheer.
Since our shopping and entertainment habits are changing, gift cards allow the recipient to choose how they spend their money. Whether you choose a restaurant, salon, or retailer, gift cards are also a great way to support small businesses during this tumultuous time.
Gift card insights
While those who said yes came in just below 50%, all age cohorts (18-65 or over) responded yes at a rate of 43-55%. Women were slightly more inclined to give gift cards, with 54% of women and 40% of men saying they would give them as holiday gifts this year.
Due to the delays in shipping most retailers are experiencing, gift cards are a good last-minute option. Our survey results show that online shoppers aren’t buying gift cards in advance, with only 11% saying they have already bought gift cards as of November 12, 2020.
Women are more inclined to want gift cards as a present, with 67% of women saying yes and just 49% of men saying no.
A whopping 75% of those in the 18-24 age bracket indicated that they hope to receive gift cards this year, while only 44% of those 65 and older say the same.
Takeaway: Gift cards are a win for most people on a shopping list, particularly younger generations and women. Retailers can leverage this information by targeting their ads and marketing messaging to these demographics.
2. Special offers still draw a virtual crowd.
This may not be news, but with such overwhelming results, it’s worth mentioning. More than half of shoppers (63%) utilized a discount or deal on the store they were shopping when they completed the Bizrate Insights survey.
What’s more interesting is that when asked, “Did you look for or try to find a special deal to use for today’s purchase?” only 31% said yes and 61% said no (the remaining 8% indicating the purchase rarely has deals).
The age demographic most likely to look for a discount are those in the 18-29 bracket, with 35% saying they looked for a deal for their purchase.
Takeaway: With 63% of shoppers receiving a discount but only 31% saying they looked for a deal ahead of time, discounts are likely so prevalent that consumers received a special offer upon arriving on a site or during check out. Research your immediate competitors to ensure your prices and offers rival those of your fellow retailers.
Coupons and discount insights
For those who chose “other,” a few of the most frequently cited methods include:
- Print mailers or catalogs
- Earned discounts
- Credit card offers
Takeaway: Since almost 30% of shoppers are notified of sales via email, growing your subscribers is critical. One way to achieve this is by capturing email addresses from customers on Bizrate Insights’ Site Abandonment Survey.
Bizrate Insights’ Site Abandonment survey collects feedback from shoppers who abandon your site before purchasing, so you can learn what drives customers to your site, why they leave, and what would entice them to buy. In addition to the valuable feedback regarding their shopping experience, the Site Abandonment survey allows shoppers to share their email address and opt-in to your email marketing.
Continue to leverage email marketing to promote your sales, but include offers on your homepage or during checkout for those who don’t research deals ahead of time. If you don’t offer last-minute savings, you could be losing sales to a competitor.
Takeaway: While free shipping is a perk, it is not as important as a percentage or flat dollar discount. Learn more about how you can leverage Bizrate Insights to find out what matters most to your customers here.
3. BOPIS and online sales will be crucial.
Brick and mortar stores that will be open during Thanksgiving weekend will need to adjust their expectations to account for the COVID-19 safety protocols. Limited in-store capacity and longer waits will likely drive more shoppers online. However, given widespread concern over delayed shipping times, many online shoppers are looking to BOPIS programs to pick up their orders rather than wait for them by mail.
Takeaway: The Cyber 5 long weekend will be a tough time to implement a new BOPIS program, but a great time to put your existing initiative to the test. Plan on having extra staff to deliver curbside purchases and assist with in-store pick-up.
An October 2020 survey on BOPIS usage found that 12% of those who choose to buy online and pick up from a retail store do so because of the ability to return or replace items at pick up, so have your best customer service employees on hand to help assist with the increased requests.
We gathered this feedback from more than 1,000 shoppers across the Bizrate Insights network, but if you want to know what’s important to your customers this holiday season and beyond, book a demo to learn more about our survey solutions.