For the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) and Food Industry, the last quarter of the year has always been the most profitable and busiest. Nevertheless, 2020 with its sequence of events means that this peak period will be a bit different.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are shopping holidays that present a huge opportunity for companies to skyrocket their sales and attract new customers. If retailers fail to properly prepare for these events, they could face big losses of potential earnings, as well as customer trust.
Therefore, it's important for those in the CPG industry to know how these events can change this year and how they should prepare.
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Shopping habits have changed
One method people apply to reduce their chances of catching the virus is by decreasing their grocery store visits frequency. While some consumers stockpile food and water, others use eCommerce to buy products they'd otherwise purchase in-store.
In the US alone, grocery sales through digital channels have grown by 75%. 36% of respondents (based in North America and Europe) of a survey said they shop online weekly, which is a considerable increase compared to the 28% pre-COVID. Moreover, 29% of consumers say they do more online than in-person shopping, while 35% say they do a relatively even mix of online and store shopping.
When it comes to how consumers plan to shop after the pandemic, 39% of respondents report that they'll stick to a combination of online and in-store shopping, 28% will shop mainly online, while 24% will shop mostly in physical stores.
Furthermore, 54% of respondents say that deals and sales are the most valuable communications they receive from brands at this moment. Also, consumers would prefer that messages switch from 'we're here for you' to 'this is how we can help you,' the survey notes.
How should companies in the CPG prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
Be ready to scale
While online orders have boosted for many CPG retailers, a lot of them weren't prepared to handle the increase in sales and traffic. Currently, being ready to scale is actually critical every day, not only during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So, in order to thrive in today's retail climate, it's recommended to invest in scalable technologies that'll help you be prepared for spikes in online orders.
If you didn't already, upgrade to an eCommerce platform that's able to scale with quick-changing traffic demands. If selling online has grown significantly or if you're new to eCommerce, focus on the security implications. Investing in security certificates, malware blockers, and firewalls to protect customer data.
Use targeted advertising
For those customers who have placed orders in the past, send a focused email to people who've bought a few times from a specific brand or product category, offering them discounted matching items. Also, you can offer tiered rewards to increase basket size e.g. a bigger discount based on the amount spent.
These strategies help you adapt to the continuously changing needs of your consumers. And while it may be a bit costly to implement these tactics, at the end of the day, they'll most likely improve your ROI.
Get in touch with your partner delivery companies and discuss effectively collecting the parcels the days following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Also, start creating product bundles and advertise them in advance of the shopping event. In addition, it'd be wise to pre-pack as many bundles as you can ahead of the sale days so all you need to do when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday is to stick the label on.
Encourage people to sign-up for deal alerts
Give your customers several alternatives, such as receiving all price alerts or only subscribing to certain brands, categories, and items based on their interests. You can do that by creating a landing page for these discounts, with links to all the products that are going to be featured in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotion, and add a 'receive a price alert' CTA button for each discounted brand, category, and/or product. You can make these alerts available via email, text, and social media messaging.
Make customers feel special
CPG companies should segment their list ahead and target their customers based on the products they've already purchased or looked at. This way, your strike rate will be higher because customers need the items you're offering them .So instead of pushing a universal offer on the day of the sale, you could differentiate yourself from other retailers by doing this segmentation.
To advertise it, send a few pre-sale emails 5-7 days before Black Friday and Cyber Monday in order to whet the customers' appetite. Afterward, use the increasing traffic to get people subscribed to your list, whether they convert or not. However, never spam customers with discount ads, because you risk damaging your brand image. Act wisely and choose subject lines that'll get them to open their messages because it will genuinely interest them.
Do a detailed site search
Site searches are great ways to make improvements before peak trading periods. As an CPG retailer, your website should perform flawlessly. You can, for instance, apply boosting rules to make sure that the right items are being promoted, whether this is based on a seasonal surge, general popularity, or a margin.
Simultaneously, take some time and analyze the search terms that attract errors and fix them using synonyms. A small investment of time on a regular basis will lead to successful search outcomes and more profitability.
Use Google Analytics
Understanding how people shop in your online store is essential. If you didn't already, set up Google Analytics, a powerful, free tracking tool that will help you have a better understanding of your shoppers' spending behavior.
According to HubSpot, over 95% of website visitors don't buy anything on their first visit. Use HubSpot to see which buyer segments and which offers are working best, create optimized product pages, landing pages for ads, and emails that deliver a more customized online shopping experience for your audience. Learn more about the Shopify - HubSpot integration.
Check the competition
Pay close attention to the marketing efforts of your competitors. This can be a source of precious ideas for your own Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns. Anyway, make sure not to be 'too inspired,' and by that we mean don't copy their content.
The most effective way to keep an eye on competitors is to subscribe to their email list and check out the campaigns they're testing. In addition, you can keep tabs of competing brands on social media platforms and set up Google Alerts to find out which websites are mentioning them.
Focus on pandemic product trends
Although it's always smart to highlight your best-selling items during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, in 2020 it's highly recommendable to also consider products that have seen an increase in demand since the beginning of the pandemic.
Offer flawless customer support
These events are normally hectic for customer support, whether it's managed by you or you're outsourcing it. No matter what, keep in mind that providing an awesome purchase experience includes having a quick response time, besides being respectful and courteous with every single customer.
Step up your game by preparing some standard replies and phrases that will help you deliver more helpful and consistent customer service without an overwhelming upfront effort. More exactly, be prepared for the following points of frustration: customers being unsatisfied with their products, delayed orders, lost orders, and packages that arrive damaged.
Also, brush up on the strategy of handling frustrated customers with empathy and effectiveness. Highlight what makes for flawless customer service, write this information down, and share it with the entire customer-facing holiday team. By impressing customers this year, they'll definitely keep coming back.
Turn one-time shoppers into long-term customers
Your relationship with Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers doesn't need to end after these holidays. You can take several steps in order to maintain and carefully nurture your connection with these new customers who placed their first order during Black Friday and Cyber Monday
For instance, keep them engaged all year long by being active and entertaining on social media. Also, send them post-sale messages via email and text. If these one-time shoppers didn't end up joining your email list or follow your social media accounts, you can try a retargeting campaign. This way, you'll bring them back to your website or in store with a great ad copy and expose them to your newest, most-relevant items.
In conclusion, given the continuous online orders and high demands, CPG retailers will, most likely, experience, scaling up for this peak season will be tougher than the previous years.
Many customers are more prone to buy from companies they know that followed safety precautions in-store. Hence, the 2020 Black Friday and Cyber Monday will reward omnichannel retailers. Instead of the seasonal and recurring demand cycles, you're probably used to, during this pandemic, you should contend with ongoing high demand for online orders year-round. Because of that, you have to leverage unique, tailored strategies and pair them with the latest technology in order to keep deliveries flowing.
Use the checklist above to make sure you're entirely prepared for the upcoming sales season. At Agile, we’re interested in your success this holiday season and well beyond. Interested in more information? Let us know or schedule a complimentary consultation today.