Congrats Futurists, you’ve made it through the frenzy. And - somehow - even in the year 2023 AD, we’re still seeing record-breaking sales on BFCM to the tune of $38b according to Adobe Analytics. Online spending is up. Thanksgiving Day spending is up. Cyber Monday spending is up. One thing I find interesting: most calculations only include the five-day period from Thursday to Monday. Anecdotally, I noticed massive emphasis on Wednesday promotions with language like “BLACK FRIDAY STARTS NOW.” Walmart ran a whole Mean Girls ad series about “But if it’s Black Friday, why is it Wednesday.”
A founder in one of my group chats remarked how BF and CM were both up, but their first day of early access to the sale was their biggest day. I expect in future YoY result comparisons we’ll see Wednesday included. I’m excited to see the results of holiday spending as a whole.
So now we’ve hit the tail end of Cyber Monday with “extended for another day” messaging rampant. We’ve almost reached the most important part of BFCM: what to do next. It’s funny, so much of the prep for the holiday has to do with how to capture sales over this weekend. Good work everyone, you ran the 17-point plan and it worked! The results are important to your quarterly and annual targets, but what about the overall health of your business? There’s an opportunity and a risk. On one hand, you could chase the bargain shoppers and keep them engaged with more discounts. On the other, you could cut bait with the deal hunters and focus back on your core customers.
On a recent Future Commerce After Dark episode Phillip and I talked about the seemingly incongruent positions of my personal love of finding a deep-cut deal and my oft-written warning against over-discounting. The answer is simple: whenever I find a product at a specific price, my expectations around repurchasing that product are at the same price. I’m willing to be a passive shopper and wait for the next time it’s re-discounted to at or below that price. I warn against discounting too deeply because whether your customers are conscious of it or not, even categorically it’s hard to repurchase something for a higher price than you once paid for it. With many HENRYs converting to CAROLs (Can’t Afford Rich Old Life), discretionary spending in 2024 is under the microscope.
However, BFCM is excluded from these mental calculations because everyone expects these to be the deepest discount of the year and knows that to buy at these prices again, they’ll have to wait until the following BFCM.
Or at least, they have this expectation unless you run deeper discounts during the year. This is where brand erosion and holiday sale erosion can take place. If people know they can purchase from you for the same price or less at a different time, they might be more inclined to spend their money with other brands and retailers where they know they’ll never see a discount until next year’s BFCM.
But if customers are aware they’re not going to see these prices again until next year, what does that make BFCM? The greatest customer acquisition day of the entire year. Most of your BFCM planning should be about what to do with these new customers.
I realize I’m writing this a bit late. Or maybe just a bit early. Come Jan 1 when you start planning for holiday 2024, retention should be top of mind. I’d recommend signing up for Future Commerce Learning and diving in with expert Mandi Moshay in our “Set the Table” course on Retention.
Hallmark but make it Commerce. Trade the big city for a big box store and saving the town Christmas parade with saving customers from spending hours on eCom sites and you get Walmart’s newest campaign, RomCommerce. The shopping-meets-entertainment series comprised of twenty-three 3-minute YouTube episodes features 330 shoppable Walmart products and premiers on December 2. If you’re like my mom and love Hallmark and spending too much money at Walmart, this show is for you.
Can’t beat em? Sue em. Shopify store owner “Claytonz Burnz” aka Amir Mokrian submitted over 70 potentially fraudulent DMCA notices against his competitors. Shopify’s feeling the burn from these actions and has brought their own case against Amir, saying his takedowns are costing them tens of thousands.
More Sights and Sounds: Shein has filed for IPO, making a play at the US stock market. Apple decides to end its credit card partnership with Goldman Sachs. Best Buy’s strategy for combating shoplifting is simply more workers, which they claim has staved off shrink and helps them stay competitive with Amazon. It looks like you may want to remove the non-disparagement clause from your website’s Ts&Cs. The cycle time for challenger-dunking-on-leader-to-leader-dunked-on-by-challenger is getting much much shorter.
Shoplifting is Surging? OR IS IT! According to the NYT it seems NYC has seen an increase in shoplifting this year, but the rest of America has decreased. It was the great Shoptanic Panic of 2023.
SBFCM (Shopify Black Friday Cyber Monday): Shopify continued to provide coverage, with president Harley Finkelstein highlighting the top products sold on Shopify:
- Mini Miracle balm from @jonesroadbeauty
- Alpine Waffle Beanie by @vuoriclothing
- Crest joggers by @Gymshark
- The Quencher H2.0 Flowstate Tumbler from @StanleyBrand
- To be fair, we noticed that the Alpine Waffle Beanie was FREE with a $150 purchase at Vuori.
Congrats to all highlighted, especially to our friend Anthony Potgeiter who leads eCommerce at Stanley.
“C” is for Cookie. What’s in the Cookie Monster’s Cookies? This should remain a mystery. Forever. Also we should not eat these cookies.
Wearable ultrasound machines. Body data unlock!! The future of health is self monitoring, push not pull systems. Your dr is going to call you when you’re sick or your body has a problem, not the other way around. Did I say doctor? I meant AI Physician’s Assistant.
Old sAInt Nick: Santa’s got a new helper. Multiple AI shopping tools are being used to assist with holiday shopping, including one by Simon Properties called HolidAI experienced in person at their malls. According to McKinsey, GenAI has the potential to boost overall retail spending by $660b. We’re always a fan of McKinsey’s suggestions, but as you all know we do believe AI is going to play an increased role in commerce.
Transcending the cuteness: @AISafetyMemes conducted an experiment to see what would happen if you asked a GenAI to keep making a picture of a puppy happier. The iterative cycle ends when the puppy becomes so happy it disappears into its cosmic background. Is there a difference between happiness and non-existence? This AI isn’t sure.