Prepare your shopping bags: Black Friday 2023 is at our doorstep, and this year it’s going to be bigger than ever! However, in the post-Covid era, businesses cannot rely solely on single-channel sales (be it eCommerce or retail), and need to implement additional strategies. Doing so definitely pays off (literally): in 2022, retail sales in the US alone increased by 12%, while online sales grew by 3.5%, netting a total of $65.3 billion globally. 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 game and create a specific Black Friday loyalty strategy. A next-gen loyalty program might just be the solution you are looking for.
Looking for the best reward ideas for a Black Friday loyalty program? With our reward-focused ebook, finding the best incentives is a breeze.
What Should You Expect From Black Friday 2023?
Despite retail still going strong, the trend of buying online and through mobile will continue during Black Friday in 2023. This could be a blessing in disguise, though, because online shopping and home delivery have now become mainstream, opening the door for consumers to put new product categories on their shopping lists. From now on, customers may also look for markdowns on snacks, groceries, and other convenience items this Black Friday.
Another familiar, yet noteworthy trend is personalization. However, in 2023, businesses have to look beyond well-phrased email messages and relevant product recommendations. They need to start thinking about one-of-a-kind experiences such as in-store live-streaming events, community gatherings, or stylist appointments with an influencer.
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.
A loyalty program can boost your Black Friday marketing strategy through reward distribution. With a loyalty system, customers need to make an initial purchase in order to redeem a discount that you’d otherwise hand out carte blanche.
Another 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 (which is where third-party partners come in handy).
Naturally, such high-end rewards require customers to spend a lot of loyalty points, so only the most committed customers will 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 Black Friday Loyalty Program Strategies for 2023
1. Free delivery is a go-to incentive
Free shipping has always been high on most loyalty program members’ wishlists. However, this incentive is a must-have for an alluring Black Friday loyalty offering. Free delivery means that customers don’t need to endure the crowds — and packages arrive at their doorstep without any extra fees. That’s a major time- and cost-saver!
If you want to gear your retail loyalty program towards a Black Friday audience, make free shipping a fully accessible benefit, even for newly registered members. Doing so will help you boost acquisition significantly. And don’t worry, you can make it a time-limited benefit that is only available during your Black Friday sales event.
Alternatively, if you don’t love the idea of giving away such a premium loyalty reward — even temporarily — you can offer standard free shipping for regular members while reserving premium, next-day free shipping for top-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 opportunity that many companies overlook: early access. It’s essentially free on your end, as you only need a loyalty platform that allows you to set up access to certain products or sales based on customer segments. Yet, it’s a perk that customers go crazy for.
Offering early sale access as a Black Friday loyalty program feature puts you 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 your competitors’ offers.
Early access as a loyalty program benefit works best if you have tiers: you can reserve it for Silver- or Gold-tier members, which motivates freshly enrolled customers to increase their purchase volume and enter the top tiers. (Not to mention the privilege of early access is quite thrilling!)
3. Go omnichannel!
Loyalty programs are capable of connecting offline and online purchases, making your single customer view even more complete. In most retail stores, it’s the shop assistant’s duty to update the customer’s loyalty profile after the purchase. This doesn’t exactly create a seamless omnichannel loyalty experience — especially on Black Friday.
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 customer’s point balance and any reward redemptions are updated automatically. It’s a lightning-quick and painless process for shop assistants and customers alike that would boost engagement for your Black Friday loyalty program.
4. Engage customers outside of the buying cycle
If you are looking to give customers a more relevant loyalty program experience and foster emotional loyalty (which remains long after your Black Friday sale is over), rewarding non-transactional activities is the way to go.
The point here is to allow customers to earn points and rewards for referring friends, writing product reviews, answering survey questions, bringing back old clothes to the store for recycling, and so on. Doing so keeps members engaged with the loyalty program, builds trust and appreciation, and helps them stock up on points before the next Black Friday sales period.
Surfwear retailer Rip Curl goes one step beyond expectations, letting Rip Curl Club members earn points for surfing, thanks to integrating Antavo’s loyalty platform with a sports tracker app. Find out how it works in our case study.
Can’t Make It in Time for Black Friday 2023? Get a Headstart With Antavo’s Technology!
The launch of a loyalty program shouldn’t be rushed, as it usually takes months to implement the whole system. In case you’re reading this article a bit late, don’t worry. Look at it this way: the glass is half-full — you have more than enough time to prepare for Black Friday 2024.
Antavo’s no-code, API-first loyalty platform makes a wide variety of omnichannel customer journeys possible, including gamification features like offline and online treasure hunts. Antavo also integrates with a large range of marketing automation and CDP platforms in order to ensure the seamless data circulation required for a single customer view.
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!
Tamas is a Senior Loyalty Program Specialist at Antavo and a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional - CLMP. Tamas is known for having a keen eye for loyalty and customer retention research and trends. Tamas is also a true gamer at heart and has an impressive collection of cyberpunk books.