Get your shopping bags ready: Black Friday 2021 is at the door, and this year it’s going to be bigger than ever! However, in the post-Covid era, businesses cannot solely rely on in-store sales. In 2020, customers spent $9 billion shopping online during Black Friday, according to Adobe Analytics. There are two lessons to learn from this: first, companies have to stand on multiple legs, focusing simultaneously on offline and online retail. Secondly, businesses need to be on top of their customer retention and acquisition game in order to score big with the offer-hungry Black Friday crowd.
Luckily for you, a next-gen loyalty program can help with both.
What Should You Expect From Black Friday 2021?
The trend of shifting from retail to online and mobile, started by the pandemic, will continue during Black Friday in 2021. During the lockdown(s), customers got used to the notion of ordering from home, avoiding crowds and long lines.
This could be a blessing in disguise, though: because online shopping and home delivery have now become mainstream, opening the door for new product categories to be included on people’s shopping lists during Black Friday 2021. From now on, customers will also look for markdowns on snacks, groceries and other convenience items this Black Friday.
Still, eCommerce-centric shopping holidays like Cyber Monday are unlikely to top Black Friday in terms of revenue, considering the latter is a shopping holiday that supports both online and offline sales.
Arm Yourself With a Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs are excellent customer retention tools that help you change customer behavior and drive any business goal you want. Launching one takes time, though, which is why you should start working on your concept long before Black Friday.
One way a loyalty program can boost your Black Friday marketing strategy is via reward distribution. With a loyalty system, customers need to make an initial purchase in order to redeem a discount you’d hand out carte blanche otherwise.
The other driving factor is the rewards. Move beyond coupons: shoppers want something meaningful or experiential, like tickets to a runway show, branded merchandise, or a hard-to-come-by reservation for dinner at a top restaurant (courtesy of a third-party partner).
Naturally, such high-end rewards would require customers to spend a lot of loyalty points, and only the most committed customers would be able to redeem them. But that’s the beauty of it: exclusive rewards motivate customers to increase their purchase frequency and basket value, meaning they’ll stay with you far beyond Black Friday.
Engage for the long term: Black Friday purchases lay the foundation, but to keep customers around, make sure you highlight incentives early in your email campaign. Curate special gift categories and use gamified profiling to get customer data early, then use that data to surprise customers with super-relevant offers and experiential rewards.
The Best Loyalty Strategies for Black Friday 2021
1. Free delivery is a go-to incentive
Free shipping has always been high on most loyalty program members’ wishlists. However, this incentive becomes a must-have for Black Friday, because it not only means that customers don’t need to endure the crowds, but the package arrives at their doorstep without an extra fee — a worthwhile time- and cost-saver.
If you want to gear your loyalty program towards a Black Friday audience, you should definitely make free shipping a fully accessible feature, even for newly-registered members. Doing so will without a doubt lead to a significant uptick in acquisition. And don’t worry, you can make it a temporary benefit that expires once Black Friday is over.
Alternatively, if you’re against the idea of giving away such a premium loyalty reward — even if temporarily — you can offer standard free shipping for regular members, while reserving premium, next-day free shipping for Gold-tier members. This way you won’t devalue your top spenders’ privileges.
2. Early access is full of potential
When it comes to loyalty program rewards, there’s one untapped opportunity that many companies overlook: early access. It’s basically free on your end, as you only need a loyalty platform where you can set up access to certain products or sales based on customer segments. Yet, it’s a perk that customers go crazy for.
Offering early access as a Black Friday loyalty program feature means that you get one step ahead of the competition. Customers will use this opportunity to order their favorite products days before the rush begins. And since they will finish their shopping before Black Friday, they won’t be swayed by competitors’ offers.
Early access as a loyalty program feature works best if you have tiers: you can reserve it for Silver- or Gold-tier members, so freshly-enrolled customers are motivated to increase their purchase volume. Not to mention that the privilege of early access is quite thrilling!
3. Go omnichannel!
Loyalty programs are capable of connecting offline and online purchases, making the single customer view even more complete. In most retail stores, it’s the shop assistant’s duty to update the loyalty profile after the purchase.
This doesn’t fit the criteria of a seamless omnichannel experience, especially on Black Friday. Keeping tabs of a customer’s loyalty data manually during the holiday season is a nightmare, so spare your staff and invest in a POS device.
If you’ve implemented a mobile pass system, membership cards can be stored on customers’ phones. Scanning the mobile membership pass with a POS device means the point balance or any reward redemptions will be updated automatically. It’s a lightning-quick and painless process for shop assistants and customers alike.
On the topic of speed, if you’re running out of time and can’t launch a full-fledged loyalty program before Black Friday, then consider opting for Antavo’s Mobile Wallet system. It comes with a basic Perks Program and can be launched within a day!
4. Maintain the thrill of shopping with live streaming
If you’re a retailer that is testing the waters of eCommerce, or you run an online business, yet want to emulate the feeling of offline shopping for your audience, look no further than live streaming.
The recipe is simple: loyalty program members can watch a crew interact with various products in a store-like environment. This is window shopping for the digital world. It is also a great opportunity to educate viewers about various members-only coupons, sales and rewards.
Live streaming is a huge trend in the APAC region. Chinese travel retail brand Lagardère was suffering from the effects of the pandemic on retail, yet the company managed to get its engagement and traffic back to pre-Covid levels thanks to two WeChat-enhanced loyalty programs that utilized live streaming.
Can’t Make It to Black Friday 2021? Get a Headstart for Next Year!
As previously mentioned, the launch of a loyalty program shouldn’t be rushed. In case you’re reading this article a bit late, don’t worry. Look at it this way: the glass is half-full — at least you have plenty of time to prepare for Black Friday 2022.
Would you like to learn more about the technical side of launching a loyalty program? Or are you curious about the intricate process of finding a loyalty concept that matches your business needs? Our loyalty experts are more than happy to help. Book a demo or send us your loyalty program RFP.
Ready to kick off the brainstorming for your new or improved loyalty program? Make sure to use our handy worksheet to help build your concept!