Interview: uSwitch share plans for 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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With competiton increasing to coinside with Black Friday's rising popularity, we speak to Ernest Doku, Senior Commercial Manager at uSwitch Mobiles to see how the mobile and broadband space is likely to react this year and how the release of the iPhone 8 and X will  shape product performance. 

What impact has Black Friday had on your business over the years? 

Black Friday has been nothing less than transformative in the Communications space – the nature of mobile phones being a tangible product has served us incredibly well in the initial years due to its proximity to a retail purchasing mindset as opposed to a basic utility, and leaning into that excitement saw tremendous success with between 80%-90% uplift in performance over  weeks either side in the initial years.

However, each year draws more competition, as well as potentially diluting the period with consumer perception diminishing and a number of retailers opting out.

Whilst 2016 actually saw Cyber Monday outdo Black Friday for us on the Mobiles side as retailers who saw success the previous year aimed directly for consumers as opposed to leveraging publishers, broadband suppliers that tested the waters for the first time saw incredible uplift.

Gauging initial interest and planning activity that we’ve been conducting this far, 2017 will see the period return with a vengeance.

What are your plans for this year and how are you preparing for them?

To align with those most interested in delivering unique and genuine discounts all throughout the period, we’ve already catered to those who have already carved out windows of opportunity far ahead of Cyber Weekend as well as during and even afterwards to ensure each has maximum exposure.

Leveraging our editorial footprint, strong social media following and even PR all feed into campaigns which span beyond what would traditionally be considered performance marketing in an effort to not only gain share of voice in an incredibly noisy trading period, but also aim to deliver something both additive and effective to advertisers when working with uSwitch.

What behavioural trends have you noticed within your local market that will influence the way consumers shop with you this Black Friday?  

This period is symbolised by emotive rather than purely rational purchases, so being the destination to perhaps tick off that upgrade that you’ve been eyeing up but never found the right time to buy, or the opportunity to finally beef up your TV and broadband package is what we wish to be over the period. The home of a curated selection of the best deals, offers and discounts to take some of the anarchy out of finding a bargain on Black Friday!

 What products do you predict to be the most popular?

iPhone. It’s always iPhone. It’ll be interesting to see whether iPhone 8 sees early discounting due to the success we’ve seen of the X as their monthly costs are markedly similar at present, as well as earlier models seeing deeper discounts to drive impulse purchasing.

Equally I'm very interested to see how the Broadband market shakes out, there are a great number of providers willing to entertain the period after seeing success (of others, rather than themselves in some cases) in 2016.

Are all efforts geared towards Black Friday? How much of role does Cyber Monday play within your Cyber weekend activity?

It’s a balancing act – as providers extend the period in both directions we aim to broaden our activity accordingly to accommodate, but there’s not a doubt that those two specific days are very much a lightning rod for consumer interest, particularly in the Communications space. So drawing traffic and ideally having the strongest deals over those four days (counting the intervening Saturday and Sunday) will be a major key in its success for us this year.