Posted: Wednesday 10th November 2021 in Performance Marketing.

Black Friday is one of the most pivotal days in the calendar for retailers and consumers alike. 

Last year, UK consumers spent over £7.5 billion over the course of the Black Friday weekend – £5.76 billion of which was spent online. This represented a huge 38% rise in online retail sales in comparison to 2019

These online shopping habits have continued to blossom this year. According to emarketer, the pandemic-charged growth of 46.5% year-over-year in ecommerce sales last year has been followed by strong growth of 20.5% in 2021. 

How retailers manage their online sales is crucial. A common and costly mistake retailers make during the peak shopping period is to view it as an opportunity to test and learn. But this is the opposite of what should be done. 

Black Friday is not the time to experiment – it is the time to use your learnings to absolutely maximise your effectiveness.

With just 2 weeks to go until Peak, don’t panic if you don’t feel prepared. Here are five last minute tips from the team at Summit that retailers can implement before Peak to help them maximise their ROI from the Peak shopping period. 

Save up to 20% on your CPCs through Peak by using a CSS partner

This is the lowest – and juiciest – low hanging fruit available for retailers. 

When serving an ad on Google’s SERP using Google’s own Shopping provider (Google Shopping Europe – GSE), only 80% of the CPC  is used as a bid to enter an auction. The remaining 20% is taken by Google as a sort of “hosting fee”. 

If retailers use an alternative provider, such as Productcaster, they are able to use 100% of their CPC as a bid – meaning they can be up to 20% more competitive in every auction. This empowers retailers to scale up activity and be even more competitive through Peak without driving up overall cost.

TOP TIP: Work with Productcaster to instantly save up to 20% on CPCs

Keep your feed up to date 

Balancing demand, price and stock is a key challenge for retailers all year round. But it intensifies significantly through Black Friday and Peak. 

Accurately listing prices and stock is essential to avoiding any disapprovals or suspensions. If there is a discrepancy between the price listed on an advert, and the price listed once an item is in a basket, it can negatively impact a customer perception of your brand – and their willingness to complete the sale. 

Retailers should apply ‘Automatic Item Updates’, which uses landing page data to update product data – without the need for any manual input. This can improve user experience, direct more traffic to products – and increase conversion rates. Learn more about how to apply this feature here. 

TOP TIP: Apply automatic item updates to ensure all product listings align with Shopping ads  

Control and allocate budget carefully 

Retailers need to move with the market. Throughout the Peak period, you should constantly monitor the performance of products and listings – as well as keeping your finger on the pulse of broader search trends. 

Tools and dashboards should communicate what is working and what isn’t. Services like MC Price Competitive Reports, Best Sellers Report and Auction Insights allow retailers to view consumer shopping behaviours in real time. 

Armed with these insights, retailers need to be able to deploy budgets as necessary. This means allocating budgets to key areas – but allowing for room to grow and adapt as demand fluctuates. 

TOP TIP: Have a contingency budget pot to tap into if unexpected demand emerges and use analytics tools to track market trends 

Get the most out of CRM lists

Retailers are well aware of how important CRM data sets are. But to get the most from Peak, retail marketers need to ensure these lists are refreshed, re-energised and ready to be repurposed as part of a wider strategy. 

This is the time to be creative with audience data: look at who converted last Black Friday, and create new lists and segments that can target these seasonal shoppers. 

CRM lists can become stale very quickly, so make sure there is a plan in place to make sure these lists are up to date so that the audience is fresh.

TOP TIP: Retailers should proactively refresh their CRM lists to reach consumers shopping seasonally

Be ready to redefine what Peak looks like 

In 2021, the Peak period is going to arrive much earlier than ever before. People are planning ahead: data shows that Christmas searches are up by as much as 600% YoY already – suggesting consumers are aware of the pressures retailers face. 

Across the board, retailers are expected to introduce sales well-in-advance of the Peak season; this is to try and encourage a stock clear-out. With CPC prices skyrocketing in the week of Black Friday, many businesses instead opt to capitalise on the lower rates both before-and-after the event. The increased level of competition for digital advertising slots is something to be mindful of also. 

When you look at some of the actions taken by high-profile retailers last year, you will see that trends were thrown out the window. Pretty Little Thing is a prime example; their decision to reduce the prices of their products by 99% was one that enabled them to offload substantial amounts of products. 

However, such offers came in for criticism on their environmental sustainability and with the aforementioned supply chain issues, big discounts causing large spikes in demand might bring a retailer’s whole operation crashing down. 

TOP TIP: Be ready for Peak to start early and finish late 

This year, Peak will be different from how we have known it. It is a new landscape, with new consumer behaviours and contextual pressures. But the same lucrative opportunity for profit exists. 

To learn more about how to get your e-commerce offering up to speed, get in touch with the Summit team at [email protected]