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It’s undeniable that Covid-19 has had an impact on the way we shop. As retailers approach Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, we’re looking at how the pandemic is expected to have impacted our spending. Research in this article is from our recent Black Friday report.

Last year consumers spent on average $392, a 16% increase from 2018. Each year the commercial holiday attracts more shoppers looking for those pre-holiday bargains, as brands extend their deals across the entire month. Of those who shopped last year, two-thirds visited physical stores, whilst three-quarters shopped online, reports from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics showed. This year, more than 57% of shoppers plan to purchase Christmas and Holiday gifts on the Black Friday weekend.

How can you continue to drive sales over the cyber weekend, and what are customers now expecting from us as safety, finances and travel have become increasing areas of concern? The below strategies consider recent trend reports and data to build suggested strategies for effective influencer campaigns. 

Help them experience your brand

Shopping in stores allows customers to discover, experience and judge a product in a completely different way than online sales. Customers reportedly return 15-40% of goods bought online, versus just 5-10% of those bought in stores. The importance of photography, product showcasing and reviews has never been so high to secure long-term success.

Influencers are professional content creators. Not only can they review and showcase your product or service to their audience, but you can buy image rights to that content to use in your own promotional material. Showing how your products works with different bodies, types of people, settings and contexts opens you up to a much wider audience. Now your customer can experience your product in a whole new way, through someone they trust and relate to. This is a much stronger visual and emotional motivation to explore your brand and learn more.

Rebuild the sense of urgency

PWC reports that 2019 Black Friday deals ran for longer than ever before, as retailers look to spread the demand. However, this has had an unfortunate side effect as consumers lose their sense of urgency. They aren’t snapping up those deals as they have longer to consider and shop around. It’s important to recapture this sense of urgency and highlight the unique features that your brand holds.

A fantastic strategy to drive this anticipation around your deal release is to create an online ‘drum roll’. This is a campaign that leads up to one big drop or day. In this lead up your audience is primed through awareness posts so they know something big is happening, there’s something coming and this influencer is excited to announce it. Then on Black Friday, or any given day, you would introduce the crescendo – a new product or new offering that members can get a one-time discount code through their influencer for. This lets customers be excited about your deals, whilst still harnessing that third party advocacy of the influencer’s voice as they are equally excited to reveal the big drop.

Get discovered

Customers will expect to shop online this year, the Office for National Statistics reported a 33.3% increase in online spending for May. This has continued into August at a 31% increase on pre-pandemic levels. So this year is all about getting discovered. The competition will be fierce, and as customers can’t just wonder into your store or look through shop windows, it’s time to get discovered in new and creative ways.

Taking the shop front example, think of influencers as your shop window. They are a portal taking the customer from their page, to yours. Not only are they able to show case your brand and introduce it to their audience, but customers are asking for this information. They follow this influencer to learn about their life, to inspire their personal decisions and learn about niche topics. Influencers are so much more than just displays of your products, they are engaging, value-adding third-party advocates who can drive traffic to your page at a time when ecommerce has never been so vital to business.

The winning strategy

The key to winning the Cyber Weekend this year will be driving that online traffic to your site. You might be able to fit 1000 people in a store at one go, but your website can have over 100,000 people shopping at the same time. The possibilities of a Cyber Weekend seem limitless – but only for those who identify the opportunity and act fast to make sure their customers are primed and ready. Influencers hold the key to reaching those customers with impressive reach and efficacy. The strategies above are just the tip of how influencers can be activated around this opportunity.

The only question left is, are you ready to win at the Cyber Weekend?

Esme Rice, marketing director at Tailify