Interview: How Red Letter Days are heading into Black Friday 2017

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We speak to advertisers and publishers to find out what impact Black Friday has on their business and how they will be preparing for the event this year.

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For a gift provider, many of the most crucial calendar events take place in Q4. We speak to Daniel Williams, Online Marketing Manager at Red Letter Days to see what they have planned for Black Friday 2017, how this corresponds with Christmas promotional activity and what trends across multi-device purchasing journeys may influence the way buyer behaviour this year. 

How have you seen Black Friday evolve in your local market? Is the scale of the event more prominent for you than now than in previous years?

We first really got involved with Black Friday in 2014 and immediately saw a huge difference, up 103% in revenue compared to 2013. Since then we’ve really made it a focal point of our Christmas plans, and try and get as much out of it as possible. One key thing we’ve noticed with our discount led promotions and Black Friday specifically is that its not about people looking to spend less, its about people wanting to get a good deal and make their money go a little further. Black Friday 2016 had an AOV 10% higher than November’s average despite being a heavily discounted day, and affiliates has an AOV typically 10% higher than that despite being the main channel for discounting.

As a gift provider, how do you plan for Black Friday compared to other key Calendar events?

Black Friday is inevitably more competitive than most of our other key dates since so much of it boils down to just those 24 hours, even if promotions start well before and go beyond just the Friday. It means we have to rely very heavily on our relationships with publishers to secure the best possible exposure and we have to know exactly what we’ll be offering much further in advance than normal to lock it down. It also means we have to get our customer service team a lot of coffee, it’s likely to be a long day for them!

What activity will you be running for Black Friday 2017?

Onsite our Black Friday page will feature a few extra-special offers, over and above our normal Christmas offers on some of our best sellers to make sure we’re offering something compelling to our customers. We’ll be pushing this across all our channels, but Black Friday is so that we have to make sure these deals are the very best, otherwise people aren’t going to hang around. We’ve also had our affiliate activity nailed for a while because the channel is so important on the day, people can definitely expect to get a good deal with us.

What shopping trends do you expect to see this year? What are likely to be the best selling products?

Red Letter Days’ best selling products are our supercar driving experiences and spa days so I’d be surprised to see that change on Black Friday, but any time we do a discount led promotion we also see big spikes come from London restaurants and horse racing days as well so I’m expecting them to do well. We know Black Friday tends to focus a little bit more on shopping for yourself rather than the rest of the Christmas period, so we may well see more people treating themselves to an experience.

As a cross-device enabled programme, what trends are you seeing in multi-device purchasing journeys which could influence Black Friday shopping behaviour?

We are seeing more and more people come to the site on mobile but convert through desktop. With the start date for Black Friday promotions getting earlier and earlier every year it has become more important to us to make sure we have as much visibility on cross-device journeys as possible.  Our average time between click and sale on one device is less than one day, whereas on cross-device sales it is around six days. Having cross-device in place means we will be able to see how much our early promotions help drive sales on the day itself.