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Black Friday and Cyber Monday might be American phenomena, but other western consumers have adopted it with similar enthusiasm. Among the biggest spenders, we find the UK, followed by the EU Three: Germany, France and Italy. On these days, revenues and sales are now almost as important as during Christmas. In the UK, the total number of transactions made during 2018 Black Friday on Amazon’s UK platform saw a 30% increase from about two weeks before. And on Cyber Monday, the total number of transactions was just shy of four million.*

*Statista survey 2018

These figures set the tone and show the high stakes that weekend represents for brands. A successful holiday season starts with a successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday, during which, if all goes well, large quantities of products will be sold. Around 80% of French and German consumers were expecting to get great deals in 2019. And so far, each year, the amount spent increased. Brands have all the reasons to gear up this year. Why not use digital gift cards to stand out and hit the mark?

The impact of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in Europe

Record sales that boost revenue in the run-up to Christmas

In 2017, most European countries recorded gains in consumer participation to Black Friday. In the UK, 37% took part in the sales in 2016, compared to 54% in 2017. And in Germany, 9% were involved in 2015 against 43% in 2017. Although some consumers go in stores to shop, most of them take advantage of the sales online. A report by McKinsey on 2018 Black Friday consumer attitude underlined that While European shoppers prefer to go digital – omnichannel is a popular option for shoppers everywhere”.*

*McKinsey Black Friday report

French retailers have seen their sales go up +312%  in 2017 compared to the rest of the year (Webloyalty). These numbers are cause for celebration, especially for all those that depend on the holiday season to end the year and start the next on the right note. For consumers, these few days of sales mark the kick-off of the Christmas gift hunt, it is a great yearly tradition.

The gift card’s potential in these hectic days before Christmas

Between people who want to buy goods for themselves, those who take advantage of the event for planned purchases or people who prepare their Christmas presents,… Many consumers take part in this crazy weekend.

To satisfy them, brands develop strategies that are more or less effective. And to carry these strategies out, several recommendations often come up: making their website mobile-friendly, anticipating the increase in traffic, removing obstacles and improving the purchasing journey,…

In this article, we will more precisely study digital gift cards, and how brands can benefit from using them during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Digital gift cards are the dematerialized counterpart of plastic gift cards, but their uses and results are multiplied. They are not only a product and means of payment, but also an effective marketing and promotional tool. Real all-rounders, they offer solutions to several problems, especially during Christmas.

Strategic actions to undertake for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Several actions can be undertaken with digital gift cards in order to enrich a brand’s strategy and help them stand out from the competition. Since it all takes place in the span of a weekend, brands must be ready.

First strategy – e-gift cards, a promotion on the ideal gift

Some consumers will take advantage of these few days to purchase some of their Christmas presents. These consumers, unlike future latecomers, are rather organized and like to make good deals, even for gifts. And as we said earlier, many won’t bother going to the stores and will shop online. Real smart shoppers, of course, will not forget their loved-ones’ tastes. Pleasing the recipient remains a key element, just as important as discounts. But truth be told, it is getting increasingly hard to find the perfect gift along with a good bargain.

That is when digital gift cards come into play. They have the advantage of appealing to many consumers. Each year more Christmas shoppers are won over because they enable recipients to choose freely what will please them most, instead of accepting a gift they will resell as soon as possible afterwards.

Brands will benefit from highlighting e-gift cards and applying a discount to them. For example, a €50 gift card can be sold for €40. But to do so, it is important for brands to target a large audience. They should reach current customers as well as other consumers, in order to attract those who want to get a head start on Christmas gifts. Digital gift cards can be promoted as the gift that can’t miss its mark via emailing, social media, and the brand’s website…

Second strategy – e-gift cards to attract customers

As we’ve explained above, Black Friday and Cyber Monday attract customers who are hungry for a good bargain and sensitive to prices. Promotions are a key criterion for 63% of French consumers on this special weekend.*

*Clear Channel for LSA

They will take the time to visit several websites and go to multiple stores in order to find the best-priced products. Nowadays, consumers have become experts in finding the best discounts, they know how to look for them and quickly compare different offers. They have mastered it to the point where it has become a habit. Because of this, promotions don’t have the same effect as they used to. 

Therefore, offering e-gift cards as a promotion rather than the usual discount would be a great way to stand out from the competition and be remembered. For example, for the purchase of a specific product, customers can receive a digital gift card of a set amount. That way, they leave the shop with their product and a “gift”. To spend the card, they will have to visit the store or website again. Since it is always difficult to spend the exact face value of the card, it benefits the brand by increasing its sales.

During Black Friday or Cyber Monday, thanks to these types of promotions, brands can spark the interest of those who haven’t visited them for a while, and reward loyal customers. They can also communicate with their customer base via emailing some time before the crucial weekend.

Third strategy – digital gift cards to increase traffic

In these hectic few days before Christmas, many consumers are more than ready to get good deals. However, not with all brands, and they will not spend the same amount in every store. How can you, as brands, make sure to attract maximum traffic and maximize the average basket? Dematerialized gift cards provide the solution again.

An e-gift card with a set face value can be given to every customer who spends above a certain amount. The reward can depend on the amount spent. For instance, a person spending €50 will get a 5€ digital gift card, followed by €10 for €100 spent, and €20 for €150 spent. 

The goal here is to increase the average basket, but also to set yourself apart from competitors by offering some kind of additional promotion. Consumers will feel like they are getting a better deal with you than with other brands. That way, dematerialized gift cards will enable your brand to increase traffic on your website and in store. However, for this strategy to work, a communication campaign needs to be carried out on a rather large audience. Make it known to as many people as possible that consumers will be rewarded for their purchases. Since most consumers start planning their Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases in the beginning of October, a campaign will have a greater impact if it is anticipated. If users know prior to making their wishlist that a certain brand will have additional promotions, they will browse this brand’s website before any other.

For brands, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the most important days in the period leading up to Christmas. There are many tips, solutions and strategies to maximize revenue and results. But to make a difference this year, it would be interesting to use digital gift cards as a marketing tool. Increasing traffic, attracting loyal customers, getting back in touch with consumers, improving the average shopping basket, encouraging recurring purchases, … There are multiple ways for a brand to use them over the holiday season, and they can adapt to any brand’s strategy.
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