BERLIN – Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great days to increase your sales. However, the weeks after Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be crucial for your brand, too.

You might also want to read: How working with German influencers can increase your brand-awareness and your sales.

This coming Friday is one of the big moments for holiday shoppers. According to data shared with FSG by Facebook, 33 per cent of holiday gifts in Germany are purchased in November. During November, on the day after the American Thanksgiving (traditionally the fourth Thursday in November) Black Friday is one of the biggest sales moments of the year. However, Facebook numbers show that until shortly before ‘Heiligenabend’, the German consumers keep buying presents – 43 per cent of German holiday shoppers online, purchase their goods in December.

 

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Panic-Fase

According to the data shared by Facebook, the social network divides all holiday related purchases and campaigns in to three phases. These three phases are all related to Black Friday. The weeks before Black Friday are Facebooks ‘Pre-phase’. Brands can pro-actively use this phase to create touchpoints with potential consumers. We see that customers sometimes – specially those of lifestyle or fashion products – need up to five touchpoints with a brand before they seriously consider buying a product. This means you have to think ahead when you want to use the Holiday period to drive new customers.

The days around it, are called ‘Peak-phase’. Any purchases done in the weeks and days after Black Friday and Cyber Monday are part of the so called ‘Panic-phase’. ‘People hit pain points while shopping on mobile devices’, writes Facebook.  In this phase, it is crucial that you have an automated process in place and that you check the stock levels connected to your campaigns frequently. Don’t dissatify your customers with an out-of-stock message.

German shopping events

The German e-commerce market differs from the traditional retail setup (two new yearly collections, two sales moments after that). Almost 40 percent of German consumers are planning on spending in between 101 and 300 euros this Black Friday, according to Statista. In Germany, there are many other online shopping events that have huge following, like Glamour Shopping Week and Brigitte Shopping Days.

We at FSG don’t recommend our brands to join all these shopping events. ‘That might hurt your image’, says Yvonne Zermin, who is head of the country management team. ‘When you choose to join big discount events, choose wisely. Make sure the event fits your specialty. Also keep in mind that having your own discount promotions on top of joining a large shopping event, might not benefit your image.’

What about the environement?

Right before Black Friday in Germany last year, the German newspaper Zeit wrote an op-ed on how buying clothes on Black Friday is something consumers should avoid. ‘Waiting until Black Friday when looking to buy a washing machine or computer is one thing. However, consumers should hold back their ‘Schnäppchenreflexe’ as much as they can when clothes are involved’, wrote Carmen Böker. According to a Greenpeace study, German adults own an average of 95 pieces of clothing, and there are over a billion of pieces of clothing laying around that nobody ever wears.

Also in the US, where Black Friday was invented in the 60’s, companies seem more aware of the impact of Black Friday on the environment. Some companies are even closing their doors on Black Friday. Outdoor brand REI Co-op is one of them. ‘We’re killing our planet’, says a video on their website, using the hashtag #optoutside.

Here’s what we think:

Some people say that on Black Friday, brands will only see a shift in turnover. We disagree. Joining Black Friday will bring incremental sales, also when we look at a longer, 3-month-period. However, the days where your brand drives lots of new customers, are over. Why? Because every brand, big or small, is joining Black Friday in Germany. Customers these days, in other words, are completely spammed – to the max.

On top of this, Amazon will most likely represent more than half of all the sales presented to customers this year, If you’re not present on Amazon, you are missing out on something big. However, you will have some new clients and there are existing customers that really expect to be rewarded during those days.

Having said that, and living in times where we frequently hear that ‘it’s a race to the bottom anyway’, we do recommend not to go too deep on your discounts. If you do, make sure to connect it to a minimal order value, or add a nice gift-with-purchase instead.

Last but not least – and especially if you sell relevant products for the Holiday season – you have to take this shift in sales as a given in your budget. Because of Black Friday, customers start their holiday shopping earlier. Therefore, brands should try to free up enough media budget to make sure your brand is present. Try to stand out. If you don’t, your brand is risking a double dip (lower sales in the weeks before Christmas, too).

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