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In the U.S., so-called “Black Friday” sales, traditionally on the day after Thanksgiving but now extending both before and after the holiday, can account for 20% to 40% of a retailer’s annual sales, says the National Retail Federation.
This year, social media and mobile devices will be driving holiday sales like never before. According to a survey conducted for the NRF, 80.6% of multichannel retailers will use Facebook to alert shoppers, an increase from 73.7% last year. As well, 29% of multichannel retailers say they will promote their in-store Black Friday deals with mobile alerts, up from 18.4% last year.
Another study conducted by the market research firm Lab42 found that 49% of this year’s Black Friday shoppers say they “pay close attention” to Black Friday deals posted on companies’ Facebook pages.
How can businesses leverage social media to truly stand out? Below are three tips from social marketing experts and leading companies:
1. Take care of technical and support.
Prepare email marketing messages for mobile delivery. Make it easy for customers to share incoming content by including social sharing icons in mobile messages. Add extra customer service support staff to answer questions from online customers.
2. Provide special deals to fans and followers.
The retail chain store Target has, for instance, created a “guess the sale” game for the nearly 21 million Target Facebook fans by presenting two items. Correct guesses reveal the Black Friday price. Sears, on its Facebook page, is encouraging fans to register for a VIP Sweepstakes to win a preview shopping experience and a $500 gift card. Another idea: award special gifts or discounts to the 100th, 200th, 300th etc. customer who “likes” or tweets about the sale.
3. Think real-time shopping.
Offer special shopping promotions after customers get into the store. Have fans opt in ahead of time so they can be given flash alerts of time-bounded special sales when in the aisles. Hang a giant QR code at the door that customers can scan as they walk in to uncover an extra special discount or prize. Use hashtags to direct shoppers to the right part of the store. Send an interactive map with flashing lights when a special departmental sale begins, and include a countdown clock until it ends.