You can love it. If you choose to you can loathe it. But there’s one thing you definitely can’t afford to do with Black Friday and that’s ignore it. Ostrich syndrome won’t make Black Friday go away – and in fact the latest figures predict that there will be a whopping 10.2 million mentions of it on Twitter around the world this year – that’s up from a ‘mere’ 8.6 million in 2015. Plus according to Experian and IMRG, last year saw a record-breaking £3.3 billion spend over the weekend of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

With online shopping continuing to rise, events such as Black Friday assume ever greater importance in the retailer’s calendar. The UK really got on board in 2014 – perhaps surprisingly with Northern Ireland leading the charge. On the one hand, great that consumers are opening up their (virtual) wallets and spending money like it’s going out of fashion. But at the same time with retailers in a race to the bottom, falling over each other as they scamper to give consumers better and better deals, there’s a big danger that it could all be for nothing – or worse. Cutting prices to win this chase can mean big losses for some.

What’s the Point?

So what’s the point in all these potential new customers? And how will you be able to make them come back? You won’t be able to afford continuing to give them the kind of Black Friday deals that put holes in your pockets, so the minimum you need to give customers is a great online experience (we’re taking it for granted that you already know how to do that in store!) If you’re not going to make money from them, then you definitely need the repeat business so you can make your return.

For one thing, you need to be sure your website can handle the upsurge in traffic on Black Friday itself. And that doesn’t just mean so people can browse your wares, and do so in a way that’s simple and satisfying – you need to make sure the payment system is bulletproof too. Nothing is a bigger worry to a customer than when it all goes kaput when they’re halfway through paying. Not only do they face the disappointment of not getting the goods they were after, they also have the added concern that their payment details could have been hijacked and are now floating away through cyberspace.

Tell Your Friends!

Next you want to make that, wherever possible and appropriate, you’ve taken their details so you can market to them in the future. If you’re a happy customer who’s just scooped a ridiculously good Black Friday bargain, won’t you want to hear from that company again and sent some more great offers? Who knows, you might even want to tell your friends about it (with the right incentive).

Chances are you know this already (but always worth getting a reminder). One thing you may not have given much thought to though is the data. Back in the 16th Century, the philosopher, scientist, statesman and all-round egghead Sir Francis Bacon said: “Knowledge is power”. If it was true then, it’s even more obviously important now. It’s what we at Black Swan have built our success on – studying vast volumes of data and seeing patterns that tell us what our clients’ customers and going to want and do next. Imagine what might be possible if you were marketing to people when you already know what they’re going to do… So even if there’s not one single other great thing about Black Friday (and by the way consider you may be being a touch gloomy here), there are glorious amounts of data being generated, so make sure you know how to get hold of it, and what to do with it. And if you want some help with that, you can always give us a call. Meanwhile keep your eyes open for more of our blogs about leveraging data from Black Friday.

We’re also hosting a lunch with some top speakers on the subject, as well as the opportunity to get some personalised analysis giving insights for you company. Click here to find out more.