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4 Black Friday Trends That Can Help Retailers Prepare for Next Year

November 25, 2022

Black Friday continues to be one of the biggest days for retail, with nearly 180 million U.S. shoppers searching for sales. But much has changed in recent years. For one, people no longer crash down doors to secure the best deals. In fact, more Americans shopped online during 2021’s Black Friday than during Cyber Monday. With long-held patterns upended and unexpected turns, like the pandemic, causing unprecedented shifts in consumer behaviors, how can retailers transform their customer experience to match the new reality? Here are 4 Black Friday Trends worth noting and what retailers can learn from them that will help them prepare for next year.

Black Friday Shopping Starts Earlier Than You Think 

Black Friday comes right after Thanksgiving and is the traditional kickoff day for holiday sales. In the past, many consumers would wait until that day to visit stores or go online. But in the last few years, people have been shopping much earlier. In 2021, a survey by RetailMeNot found that 56% took advantage of early holiday sales before Thanksgiving, and the majority said that half their holiday shopping was already completed prior to Black Friday.  

What Retailers Can Learn for Next Season: 

People are holiday shopping earlier and peak buying seasons have become unpredictable as historically driven trends begin to change. It’s important to have a customer experience (CX) vendor that has the operational flexibility to handle sudden call surges. itel's flexible staffing model and multiple geos give you the agility to quickly respond and to ramp up operations as needed. We can ensure you have the headcounts you need to ensure that customers have timely access to customer care teams when they have product or shipping inquiries. 

Black Friday Has Gone Online 

Black Friday sales used to be confined to brick-and-mortar stores. But as e-retailers started matching in-store deals, more people went online. Combined with the accelerated adoption of digital shopping, brought on by the pandemic, Black Friday has now overtaken Cyber Monday as the top day for online sales, reporting almost $9 billion in sales revenue last year. And a 2022 survey revealed that 69% of people plan to shop online this Black Friday, compared to 32% who plan to shop in-person. Yet, both groups agree on one thing: 60% prefer to learn about upcoming promotions via email, demonstrating that digital channels are still the preferred way to receive marketing and sales communications.  

What Retailers Can Learn for Next Season: 

Omnichannel CX is absolutely essential if you want to cater to Black Friday online shoppers. They prefer self-service, so digital channels, such as chat, email, and text, and automations, such as chatbots, will give them that quick, efficient experience they crave. But in the case of a complex issue, return, or order inquiry, 75% of consumers still want to interact with a real person. itel’s innovation team can help you determine which consumer touchpoints could and should be automated for more efficiency, cost-savings, and a more seamless customer journey. We can also find that perfect blend of technology and human touch. 

Inflation Has More People Seeking Black Friday Deals 

Inflation and recession fears are taking their toll on consumer spending. According to the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index, consumer confidence is near its lowest in a decade. The 2022 RetailMeNot report found that 85% of consumers have been impacted by inflation, and as a result, half said they will buy fewer items this holiday season. That doesn’t mean they won’t shop this Black Friday. Deloitte recently reported that the majority of shoppers still plan to spend 50% of their total holiday budget during the Black Friday-Cyber Monday period. It just means their dollars may not stretch as far, and they may buy fewer gifts.  

What Retailers Can Learn for Next Season: 

Your customer experience matters more than ever, especially in times of reduced consumer spending. Now is the time to “double down” on customer service, to retain people’s loyalty. Remember that 20% of your customers often account for 80% of sales. You want to offer them the best experience when they contact your business. Our proven delivery model has shown retail CSATs of 80% or higher, with lower average hold times than many competitors. We also train our agents in key skills such as issue resolution, product knowledge, brand alignment, sales, and the most needed skill in tough times, empathy.  

The Rise of Self-Gifting 

In 2021, 43% of consumers bought a gift for themselves during the holiday season, citing it as “therapy”. That number has risen to 45% in 2022, with a significant uptick already noted in personal care services such as spas and hair salons. Experts say this may be due in part to inflation, as people view the holiday season as a time to make up for cutbacks during the rest of the year. Millennials are the most likely to self-gift (63%), followed closely by Generation Z (61%). What is intriguing is that these self-gifts are sometimes personal care items that wouldn’t be traditionally thought of as “gifts”. This, again, may be due to inflation, with people viewing some items as indulgences that they can justify splurging on during the holidays.  

What Retailers Can Learn for Next Season: 

This is a sales opportunity. But self-gifting is often very personal and individualized. Retailers need to arm their customer care and sales teams with the necessary tools and technology to offer that level of hyper personalized service. For instance, itel’s comprehensive platform can pull historical data to give key insights into consumer patterns and preferences. Speech to text analytics help us to identify customer needs, while sentiment analysis helps agents to understand how a customer feels. This allows us to key into sales opportunities and to make relevant product and service recommendations. 

What Black Friday Trends Tell Us 

These four trends are just part of a larger picture that show why customer service is more important than ever, especially in these shifting and uncertain times, where old trends are being upended. itel can be your partner in the new economy, giving your customers the best shopping experience. Our agile operational model and multiple geos give you the flexibility to handle seasonal ramps and unexpected call volumes. We can source the best talent, offering service in multiple languages, with the right balance of technology to improve efficiency, cost-savings, and the overall customer experience.  

So, already thinking about how to prepare for next year’s holiday season?

Contact us to get started. 

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