Taming the Black Friday Madness with Data

Rado Kotorov's picture
 By | November 23, 2015
in Business Analytics, Business Intelligence
November 23, 2015

Black Friday: the day we become thankful for family, friends, and the right to wrestle grandma for a $3 Christmas tree skirt.
Photo attributed to John Henderson.

The ‘perceived value’ created by retail ‘discounts’ has interested behavioral economists for some time. Flash sales and bargain hunting can bring out irrational behavior in even the most logical individuals.

Black Friday is a prime example. On this one day each year, the game between retailers and consumers reaches a pinnacle. Shoppers line up for endless hours in hopes of scoring the deal of the evening, often times walking away empty handed. Tension and excitement run in tandem, with sometimes disastrous consequences. And to what end? All of this to bring more people into stores.

But is there a better way? Yes. Leveraging the power of data, retailers have the ability to drive Black Friday sales while promoting a more civilized and enjoyable shopping experience. Below are a few of the ways this can be done.

Consumer Segmentation

Ninety-nine percent of shoppers probably prefer not to participate in the race to snatch up the deal of the season, so why subject them to the craziness? With a mass of data at their fingertips, retailers have the ability to truly get to know their shoppers. Not only do they know who their shoppers are, but they also understand purchasing power, preferences, and what offers trigger purchase.

Leveraging this data, retailers can target their customers with the offers that will matter the most to them, and reserve the biggest discounts for those who most want and need them. This segmentation could also help retailers create interest in a wider variety of items based on customer preferences, helping to reduce the mad dash for one “it” item when doors open.

Real-Time Data

Taking advantage of in-store and mobile technologies, retailers have the opportunity to use real-time data to award certain customers with the best discounts on-the-go via mobile devices and social media.

Real-time insights can also help retailers up-level the customer experience. Imagine receiving a push alert with a reminder to purchase batteries when checking out with toys. This simple reminder saved the customer a second trip to the store and improved the basket value. This is just one example of a complimentary purchase that the data might point to. Artificial Christmas tree purchases could point to lights or tree skirts, beachwear to sunscreen - the possibilities are endless.

Peersuasion Marketing

“Peersuasion” marketing can help retailers make Black Friday less of a ‘free-for-all’ in stores by diverting a portion of the Black Friday shopping traffic online. “Peersuasion” marketing uses consumers’ social networks to market goods and services to create brand awareness, while allowing shoppers to engage with their peers. For example, retailers can introduce trivia style games into the shopping experience, where consumers help others to win discounts. This not only helps to boost brand engagement but also supplies retailers with a new layer of social data.

It’s time for retailers to use Black Friday as a trigger to become more innovative about how they draw consumers into stores. Retailers can use mobile devices and social media to make Black Friday both entertaining and safer this year. 

Like many retailers, our customer Helzberg Diamonds is using business intelligence (BI) to seize the high ground in a competitive industry highly dependent on holiday sales. By giving store managers at 230 stores timely performance metrics on dashboards and scorecards, and enabling outside partners to assess campaign and promotion effectiveness, they can respond quickly to market trends and boost efficiency in every facet of their business.

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