The Black Friday debrief
After days, weeks, maybe even months of preparation, Black Friday comes and goes in the blink of an eye. Before you know it, Cyber Monday is over and it’s back to business as usual.
As well as being big for retailers worldwide, BFCM is enormous here at Dotdigital. We dedicate months towards ensuring your emails land when you need them to. This year included moving our email-sending services to the Azure Cloud, reducing network traffic, and removing pause and resume from campaigns.
Some of our industry colleagues reported delays in their sending pipeline as well as real-time segmentation. During BFCM this can result in a very expensive opportunity cost indeed.
Bottom line is, you need a platform that just works. Dotdigital customers experienced an outstanding delivery rate of 99.3% across the entire weekend. This resulted in the delivery of no fewer than 212.5 million emails and 4.5 million SMS messages on Black Friday alone.
Black Friday – Cyber Monday in numbers
Significant increases in BFCM send volumes
So how did this Black Friday compare to last year’s? Amid a backdrop of an economic downturn, did Black Friday bring in the usual peak in orders?
This Black Friday, Dotdigital exceeded all expectations, officially smashing all our records and sending the highest volume of emails in a single day. In fact, we helped marketers deliver an additional 6 million emails, taking our record from 206 million to over 212 million.
What does this tell us?
There was a significant increase in the number of marketing communications being delivered. SMS is where we saw the biggest uplift, experiencing a 34% increase in messages sent over the Black Friday weekend.
The number of emails sent increased by just over 3%. While this may sound small, it means that an additional 16,088,452 emails were sent this year.
Also, we saw a 26.5% increase in emails starting from the Monday before Black Friday. SMS was also being sent in higher volume, increasing 14.8% from the week prior.
What does this mean for consumers and brands?
So, marketers are sending in higher volume, what does this mean for the consumer?
As consumers ourselves, we have to admit to feeling a bit of fatigue around Black Friday this year. Emails were coming earlier and in a higher volume than we’ve previously experienced. Flash sales, early access, Black Friday weeks, and more.
Black Friday was once a big event – an event that was highly anticipated. Shoppers would queue outside stores, tv cameras would broadcast scenes of carnage as shoppers battled it out for heavily reduced stock.
As Black Friday has expanded into the weeks before and after it, has the day been diluted too much? To us, it’s beginning to feel as though the sense of urgency is lost, and consumers are growing numb to the deals.
This poses a problem for brands. Black Friday was once a guaranteed sales driver. At a time when ROI and sales are vital to survival, you need it to be again. If consumers are becoming numb to it, there’s more work to be done to unlock the revenue potential of Black Friday and the holiday season as a whole.
For consumers, it can feel too much. With deals starting before Black Friday itself, it can be hard to know when the best time to purchase is. On the one hand, you don’t want to buy early and risk losing a higher discount that may come later. On the other hand, you don’t want to wait too long and risk an item going out of stock.
It’s a similar quandary for retailers. You don’t want to launch your sales too early and leave shoppers underwhelmed on Black Friday itself, but wait too long, and you could lose custom to competitors who begin discounting a week in advance.
What’s the solution to BFCM fatigue?
That’s hard to tell. We will only really know once the whole holiday season is wrapped. Is it Black Friday fatigue or simply consumers keeping a closer eye on their spending?
We can simply advise caution: be certain your emails are relevant to the recipient during the holidays. Use your segmentation tools. eRFM will help you identify your loyal customers, brand champions, and those who are inactive. Every segment deserves a unique customer journey.
Where you can, add AI-powered product recommendations to personalize and boost the relevancy of your message. Dynamic content ensures you’re reaching the right person with the right message. These tools are at your fingertips and will be the difference between an order placed and a conversion missed.
Is BFCM sustainable?
As well as watching budgets, shoppers are becoming increasingly mindful of over-consumption and sustainability. Does this mark the end of BFCM?
Perhaps the future of the holiday centers around greener, more considered choices. As consumers continue to favor brands who give back, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will be a hot topic for marketers going into 2023. It’ll be interesting to see how consumer desires for sustainability can combine with a holiday based purely on consumption.
There are already a number of brands that abstain from Black Friday due to concerns over sustainability. Patagonia for example, FREITAG, Monki, and By Rotation too.
We understand that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are massive opportunities for most brands, and therefore you can’t adopt a hardline against Black Friday, but there are ways you can encourage sustainable practices during your sales.
This year, we saw brands including free clothing recycling bags and offering slower, eco-delivery options on their shipping pages. Even small steps can add up to big changes. With Dotdigital, you can be safe in the knowledge that every email you send is coming from a carbon-neutral platform.