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Posted By:  ECT News Network on 01/28/2019 in Ecommerce

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Are Dead, Long Live BFCM

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Are Dead, Long Live BFCM

By Eric Keating 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over -- at least when it comes to standalone holiday retail events. In the commerce world, 2018 was the year those two separate shopping days morphed into BFCM weekend. Last year, 165 million Americans shopped steadily from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday, an increase of nearly 40 percent from 2017.

Not only were buyers shopping throughout the weekend, but revenue was also way up. Brands made more money and sold more goods at higher prices last year compared to the year before. Naturally, that piqued our curiosity, so we examined customer data from the weekend to see what trends stood out.

We found some interesting patterns: Zaius customers saw a seven percent revenue per purchase increase on Cyber Monday, a 13.8 percent increase in revenue per purchase on Black Friday, and a 12.4 percent increase in revenue overall, compared to 2017's BFCM weekend.

In addition to the overall shopping trend shift, here are three takeaways from BFCM weekend 2018:

First, They Browsed

Last year, shoppers didn't seem to be in as much of a hurry to shop on Black Friday as they were in years past. In fact, it seemed they were perfectly content to browse on Friday, and purchase later in the weekend.

In 2017, by contrast, buyers browsed and then bought at a similar rate on Black Friday compared to Cyber Monday. Last year, it seemed that buyers felt they had the entire weekend to browse before finalizing a purchase, possibly prompted by the knowledge that most deals were good until Monday evening.

The Repeat Customer Always Wins

We have long known the value of repeat customers -- they spend more money than new buyers AND they're easier to keep around. While many brands focus on finding new customers for BFCM weekend, the data shows that simply isn't the best investment.

Yes, there are many new people who have their first interaction with your brand during BFCM weekend, but they're not the most valuable in terms of revenue. Wondering who is? You guessed it -- the repeat customer.

In fact, repeat purchasers last year accounted for 10X the purchases of first-time buyers on Cyber Monday and 8X the purchases on Black Friday. For the entire weekend, repeat purchasers accounted for 2.8X the revenue of first-time buyers.

You just can't afford to ignore your repeat customers. If you do, do so knowing you're leaving future revenue on the table.

Don't Rely on Discounts

We weren't particularly shocked to learn that customers browsed before they bought, and we definitely weren't surprised to see the value of the repeat customer. What did surprise us was that not every purchase made on BFCM was at a discounted rate. In fact, a large portion of brands still sold products at full price, meaning while most shoppers prefer a discount, it's not a deal-breaker. Let's look at the numbers:

In 2018, just 20 percent fewer purchases occurred at full price during BFCM compared to an average shopping day. Overall, the most common discount that converted buyers was 20 percent.

How does that compare to the year prior? In 2017, 30 percent fewer purchases occurred at full price on BFCM. Buyers were also bigger on discounts in 2017, as more shoppers converted using a 60 percent, 50 percent or 40 percent discount.

Overall, buyers last year seemed to expect smaller discounts and many were even willing to pay full price. This should prompt a sigh of relief for brands that thought they had to offer staggering savings to compete for buyers.

The Takeaway

As we re-evaluated last year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday as BCFM, there were additional findings about today's ecommerce buyer that we found interesting.

We now know buyers are more likely to purchase from familiar brands that they know and love, they're less likely to scour the Internet for massive savings, and they're more likely to browse throughout the weekend rather than purchasing right away.

This is really good news for the brands that chose to put a premium on customer loyalty. If you're looking to build a strong BFCM strategy that focuses on your loyal customers, 2019 could be even bigger than last year.

For marketers, it's critical that you no longer think about your holiday campaigns as two separate days -- Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now, you have to think about the campaign as an extended weekend-long event.

About the Author
Eric Keating is VP of marketing at Zaius, a B2C CRM.

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