Modern Marketing Brand Strategy Ecommerce

Turning browsers into shoppers: 5 key Black Friday trends for UK retailers

November 26, 2021 | 7 min read

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Originally established in the US, Black Friday has stretched across the pond to become the busiest and most profitable time for e-commerce in the UK. While the upcoming holiday season presents a huge opportunity for brands to boost sales and attract new customers, last year’s events have altered and sped up many facets of online retail in 2021.

Outbrain Black Friday

Black Friday has stretched across the pond to become the busiest and most profitable time for e-commerce in the UK

Failure to adequately prepare for it can be detrimental; one in three UK brands say that holiday purchases represent the bulk of their annual sales, making it crucial to achieve strong performance for the Q4 period.

In a recent survey of 8,000+ consumers worldwide, Outbrain uncovers a range of trends on what consumers are looking for this year – and what truly makes them click (and buy). In the lead up to Christmas, and in order to take advantage of these trends, here are the main areas to inform your marketing strategy.

Digital channels reign supreme

Once synonymous for crowds and long queues, Black Friday is expected to be a digital-first event again in 2021. Almost half (48%) of UK consumers plan to only shop online in the lead up to Christmas, compared to 6% who will shop exclusively in-store. Prioritize digital channels for your traffic acquisition and sales strategies, as it can be a means where consumers start and end their shopping journey, or act as a key influencer for in-store traffic.

People shop with their mobile device too

With online shopping outpacing in-store sales, it’s also important to know on which device consumers plan to make their purchases. While almost evenly divided across most markets, it’s mobile at 45% that beats desktop (39%) among UK shoppers. Customers expect your website to be mobile friendly, with simplified check out and payment. Be sure not to forget about this experience and optimize for it.

Black Friday is no longer just about discounts

Creating a buzz-building Black Friday campaign with messaging around fast shipping is just as important as the deal itself. In fact, 50% of UK consumers rank speed of delivery as a greater influence on their purchase decision compared to free or discounted shipping. Retailers will be wise to protect their margins, thereby limiting supply shortages and rising shipping costs, by leveraging delivery times as a conversion tactic for earlier purchases.

No cutting back on nonessentials this season

Unlike last year where essential goods were a primary focus due to Covid-19 concerns, shoppers aren’t cutting back on discretionary spending this season. When it comes to online spending over the next six months in the UK, categories like fashion, beauty and entertainment are among the top-5 expected to see the greatest increase. Multi-category retailers should consider campaigns in all these areas.

It’s all about trust and personalization for shoppers

Consumers respond more favorably to ads on trusted editorial sites (call it a “halo effect” from high-quality journalism), and ads that resonate are personalized as well as contextually relevant. Build on your story through multiple pieces of content and qualify intent by driving traffic to interactive pages, like product finders or virtual testers, to personalize consumer interaction.

Basing your strategy by looking at last year’s data can be helpful, but it can’t provide the full picture. The fact is consumer shopping and habits look differently today than they did just one year ago. Keep these trends in mind to deliver the best customer experiences and achieve your goals this holiday season.

Fill in the form below to download this report from Outbrain:

Modern Marketing Brand Strategy Ecommerce

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Outbrain (Nasdaq: OB) is a leading recommendation platform for the open web. Our technology enables 10 billion daily recommendations to consumers across more than 7,000 online properties and connects advertisers to these audiences to grow their business. Founded in 2006, Outbrain is headquartered in New York with offices in 18 cities worldwide.

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