Strategy

Biggest Black Friday ecommerce trends to keep in mind in 2021

Gabriela Porto
Gabriela Porto October 22, 2021
Biggest Black Friday ecommerce trends to keep in mind in 2021

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday get closer and closer, retailers must be ready to make this season a successful sales and shopping event, using their biggest weapons for such. It’s important to get the Black Friday online shopping experience right, from marketing and inventory to having the right sales associates to cater to customers both online and in brick-and-mortar retailer stores. 

By observing statistics and looking at past events that happened from 2020 to 2021, vendors can plan for a prosperous holiday shopping season. Through research and numbers, we have separated some of the biggest ecommerce trends going on at the moment and how you can adapt them in your Black Friday 2021 strategy.

Black Friday ecommerce trends for 2021

The year 2020 has taught us that the shift to digital is here to stay. Online shopping during Black Friday 2020 registered a large growth when compared to previous years. There was a 21.6% year over year increase in the amount of money spent during Black Friday shopping. Consumers spent over $9 billion, according to Adobe Analytics research

Here at VTEX we also registered some record-breaking numbers in 2020, along with a 63% increase in the total volume transacted in comparison to 2019 and an 8,53% increase in the average ticket price. 

The one-year gap between the 2020 and 2021 sales events has shown that there have been changes in consumer behavior and the trends that follow are aligned with their expectations of a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience. Here are some of the trends to watch out for and how to capitalize on them to make the most out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021.

Customer-centric experiences

Customers are always going to find ways to engage in retail, so keeping them close by investing in customer-centric experiences are granted ways to get them to come back. Initiatives such as offering gifts, unique experiences like live shopping, a solid brand image strategy are just some of the things that bring customers closer. 

This can boost sales and new product discovery, especially when fostering engagement and building customer-brand relationships. But customer experience is not only giving them perks or offering good discounts. It is about much more.

Seamless navigation

Even when shopping online, customers need to have the look and feel of shopping in-store. Offering a good page loading time, correct product availability and pricing information and a frictionless checkout experience are just some of the things customers expect when planning to shop online. 

Page loading time

Speed is everything when it comes to the digital world. Research has shown that a page’s load time directly impacts bounce rate. And customers are somewhat impatient. As soon as the page load time surpasses 3 seconds, the bounce rate soars to 38% – imagine that. Be sure to check if your website is following all of the guidelines, especially with optimized images and by cleaning up any extra, useless content on there.

Payments

By offering an assortment of fully digital payment options to customers, businesses are able to also offer different advantages such as cashback policies, instant payment, receipts and lower interest rates. The payment step must be seen as a part of the buying process and not only as a consequence of it. This is why checkout experiences matter so much when talking about digital payments: It is the most crucial part of the online buying process and perfecting this flow guarantees a lower cart abandonment rate.

Exclusivity

The importance of exclusivity is something that should be in the forefront of retailers’ minds. By offering exclusive discounts and perks, customers are faced with a sense of importance. In a world where purpose-led brands are constantly in the spotlight, sellers must find a way to touch the heart of their customers.

One good example of exclusivity is making use of loyalty programs and memberships to offer free shipping, discounts and early deals for customers that are already connected to the brand. And spreading the word on those programs are a quick and effective way to attract other customers to your website and, consequently, closer to your brand.

Some other examples of exclusive perks include:

  • Discounts for first-time customers;
  • Discounts on other apps;
  • Free shipping;
  • Gifts on orders above an established value.

The importance of mobile ecommerce

One thing that has changed significantly from Black Friday 2020 to Black Friday 2021 is the role of mobile devices in online sales. Though the growth in use of mobile devices is no news and has been going on for years, in 2020 it reached a peak.

More time spent on social media, new shopping channels via apps and the improvement and optimization of mobile websites have led to an outstanding increase in sales through those devices. During Black Friday 2020, mobile online sales were 24% higher than desktop sales and VTEX clients registered that over half of their total orders were made through mobile devices.

With that in mind, it becomes clear that a good investment in mobile channels is crucial for a great sales operation during Black Friday 2021. The mobile attention span is smaller than on the desktop, so optimizing and making the customer journey as easy as possible is another way to keep these consumers closer on mobile.

Mobile optimization 

Sites should be optimized for mobile, of course, but for events like Black Friday, it’s good to focus on the payment process, looking at ways to make payment easier for mobile users — after all, the race for some items can be tough and the only way to really guarantee your order is by paying for them. 

At a time when customers have a strong intent to purchase, it makes perfect sense to guide them through checkout quickly, avoiding any friction which could deter them. For this reason, offering a guest checkout experience is a must, eliminating any kind of extra steps that can lead customers to give up on placing their order. Also on this subject, easy payment methods can also make a big difference for mobile, especially Google Pay and Apple Pay.

Social media

Social media has been playing a major role, especially with new social selling features from Instagram and Facebook. According to a survey from Forrester, 48% of the respondents consider buyer outreach a major benefit of social sales. 45% of them mentioned staying connected with the buyer during the sales cycle, and 41% cited higher win rates and seller productivity as benefits.

Beyond helping brands to reach their sales targets, it also makes product and brand discovery easy. Social selling eliminates any type of friction in the decision to shop by making it possible to complete an order without leaving your favorite social media app. Recently, TikTok has also been taking part in this trend.

With social selling comes conversational commerce. Through chatbots or real-time sales associates, brands are able to replicate the in-store experience of asking attendants and understanding each product according to the customer desires.

Solid content strategy

Black Friday drives huge peaks in interest from shoppers searching for deals, making it a massive opportunity for retailers to take advantage of high volumes of search traffic. The search interest around Black Friday has been growing year over year, with interest building from mid-October and peaking during the week of Black Friday.

Content can be very meaningful, especially during the upcoming holiday season. By creating good and touching stories related to your product and brand, customers can understand the impact and sympathize with what is being told. 

It is also crucial to think of the correct terms and the best SEO keywords to use. The best way to do so is using tools such as Google Trends, SEMRush and other SEO-specialized websites.

Watch out for trends and be prepared!

The Black Friday experience has changed dramatically in the past years and, now, shoppers and retailers are much wiser about how to make the most out of the holiday. But what hasn’t changed is the potential for the period to supercharge sales like no other holiday. It is all a matter of finding an opportunity and learning how to better approach these new customer expectations, converting it into a very profitable sales event with the already known Black Friday deals.

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