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Revive Black Friday Before It’s Too Late
Jamie Crespi

Black Friday has been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005. But for many brick-and-mortar retailers, shopping the day after Thanksgiving just isn’t what it used to be.

In 2014, for instance, spending on Black Friday fell for the first time since 2008, down 11% from the previous year. In 2012, social media conversations about Black Friday dropped by 72 percent. And that’s not the worst of the bad news for retailers: Last year, only 23 percent of American adults said they planned to use the day to shop in stores.

Is this the start of the end for in-store shopping on every retailer’s favorite holiday?

Probably not. But what these recent trends suggest is that consumer enthusiasm for Black Friday is declining. And if retailers want to survive and thrive this holiday season, they’ll need to do more than rely on tired old routines and promotions.

So how can retailers revive Black Friday, reinvigorate sales, and reignite consumer interest? We offer three suggestions.

1. Learn from the Past

The first step to creating effective ad campaigns that entice consumers to visit on Black Friday is gaining a deep understanding of your ideal audience. Historical location data can provide brands with the rich insights they need to craft personalized and highly effective ad campaigns.

Let’s say a sports brand specializing in running shoes wants to target sporty individuals in the market for new sportswear. How can they be sure their target audience is comprised of runners in need of a sneaker upgrade? By looking at historical location data. With it, the brand can identify their ideal audience by singling out consumers who regularly visit the local gym, the smoothie bar, or the nearby Nike store.

2. Keep an Eye on the Apps

Advertisers can then couple their historical location data with other rich sources of information, such as app usage.

What can you learn about consumers based on the apps they use? A lot. This is what we quickly realized here at Blis, where we work with PushSpring, a company specializing in crafting ideal audiences based on app usage. A hotel chain, for example, can identify their perfect audience of frequent travelers by taking a look at which consumers regularly use the Kayak and Amtrak apps on their phone.

The sportswear brand in the section above, for example, can narrow their ideal audience down even further by focusing on consumers that use fitness apps. Or, if they are specifically trying to push their new range of running shoes, they can serve ads only to those individuals who regularly visit the gym and use a running app. Chances are these individuals would be more likely to buy an early Christmas gift and treat themselves to new running shoes.

3. Make In-store Moments Magical

In our digital world, it’s easier to browse products online then step foot in a store, so brands need to give consumers a reason to brave the Thanksgiving hangover and go out shopping on Black Friday.

Beacon technology—which lets brands know when consumers enter their stores—can help advertisers enhance the in-store experience and bring their brick-and-mortar stores to life.

This is what Macy’s did with their “Walk in and Win” campaign. In the lead-up to Black Friday, the brand used a beacon-enabled campaign to prompt consumers to download their app when they walked into a Macy’s store. Then, on Black Friday, in-store shoppers with the app received push notifications, inviting them to play the game and win prizes.

We may be seeing a waning desire among consumers to wake up at ungodly hours and face the long lines on Black Friday, but there’s still plenty that retailers can do to revamp the biggest retail weekend of the year. When they do, they—like Macy’s—will reap the rewards in terms of increased holiday sales and greater customer engagement.

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Jamie Crespi is VP, Americas Marketing. She is responsible for leading the US marketing efforts by providing creative market planning and execution that maps to the sales and product strategy. She is responsible for all client and prospect marketing communication in North America and working hand in hand with the US sales team to drive revenue. She has over a decade of experience working in marketing and advertising as well as an extensive adtech background.

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Question 1: How long have you been at RSi and what is your role?
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Question 2: How does RSi help solve marketer challenges?
Shopper marketers’ biggest challenge is to connect their online campaigns to in-store results. RSi’s Ansa solution provides the intelligence they need, based on daily, store-level POS-data from the largest US retailers in order to plan, target, and measure the impact of their shopper marketing campaigns. Retail Solutions Inc. has partnered with the leading ad networks in Shopper Marketing, such as Blis, to make Ansa’s automated analytics available for the world’s largest CPG companies and their agencies. To measure and maximize their digital ad campaigns, all they need to do is ask for Ansa inside their next campaign.

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With RSi’s Ansa solution, building, dynamically optimizing, and reviewing attribution measures for every digital ad campaign has never been so simple. Here is how it works:
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For existing products, Blis campaigns using Ansa targeting can reach a targeting efficiency of 2:1 vs. campaigns that do not use Ansa store-level targeting thereby ensuring that every dollar is spent driving sales to your most important retailer locations.

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(Other than this blog post of course!)

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Tune in next week to read all about how mobile is fast becoming the extension of a retailer’s store.

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