The True Online Impact of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

I’m not going to lie. I love getting a good deal. And Black Friday and Cyber Monday are known for good deals. But because I am also an Online Marketing Strategist, I am always curious as to the online impact Black Friday and Cyber Monday have on consumer behavior.

Last year, IBM produced benchmark studies on Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping habits. 

A couple of major lesson emerged for retailers:

  1. Promote early – Purchases on Thanksgiving Day increased again last year (and are expected to this year as well). Gone are the days of waiting for the circular to come out in the paper. Consumers are expecting to know about the sales BEFORE the day of the sale. LESSON: Don’t wait until the last minute to promote sales.
  2. Social is for sharing, but not buying – On Black Friday, only 0.34% of online sales were referred from social media sources. Only 0.41% of Cyber Monday sales came from social. On these days, social media is full of recommendations and product questions. This is an opportunity for brands to engage in the conversation and not just promote products. LESSON: Consider the medium and how people will use it on special occasions.
  3. The power of mobile – Multi-screen usage continues to grow year after year. There are two ways that consumers are using mobile while shopping. First, they use mobile for “quick hit” information. This was especially prevalent on Black Friday when shoppers researched store hours of operation and locations. Second, mobile is used for “dual” shopping. Black Friday shoppers used mobile devices to simultaneously shop online and in-store.  Multi-screen shopping spikes on Cyber Monday as people shop on both their work computers and their mobile phones. LESSON: Make sure that your business is prepared for multi-screen shoppers.

The biggest lesson here is that you need to be where your consumers are. However, you also need to interact with consumers in the way that they demand. Promote deals early, use social to engage (not just push deals) and embrace mobile.