Phygital Revolution: Transforming Black Friday in the Digital Age for US Consumers

November 7, 2023

Black Friday holds a significant position in e-commerce, with its figures remaining strong even amidst a pandemic. Nevertheless, the methods and patterns of obtaining attractive deals during this event have evolved. Simply offering an appealing promotion on this day is no longer enough. Modern digital consumers have elevated expectations, not only for pricing but also for their interactions with brands and overall shopping experience. Therefore, prioritizing user experience is crucial for maximizing the effectiveness of promotional strategies.

The rapid digitization of recent times has forced commerce and the companies within it to modify their sales, promotion, and purchasing dynamics. In the last 10 years, brands' Black Friday strategies have changed considerably. Let us tell you a bit about today's main trends so you don't fall behind in the future!

The new paradigm: phygital

According to McKinsey, the future of retail lies in the convergence of physical and digital realms, giving rise to a new paradigm known as "phygital”. This term encapsulates a transformative shift wherein there is no longer a distinction between the physical and digital worlds within the retail space; instead, they seamlessly blend together into one interconnected ecosystem. In this brave new phygital universe, traditional brick-and-mortar stores are enhanced by cutting-edge technologies that enable personalized experiences for customers. Furthermore, online platforms leverage data analytics and artificial intelligence to understand customer preferences better than ever before, enabling retailers to tailor offerings with remarkable precision. The advent of phygital heralds an era where technology transcends mere tools and becomes an integral part of every consumer touchpoint—whether it be shopping at a physical store or engaging with brands digitally—thus revolutionizing the retail landscape as we know it.

Some of the most common cases of the new Phygital world include:

1. Buy online and pick up in-store

2. Browse online and reserve items for in-store try-on

3. Buy online and return items in-store

People-based marketing

According to an Infobip survey, an overwhelming 54% of consumers express dissatisfaction when bombarded with impersonal messages. This statistic serves as a clear indication that personalization plays a pivotal role in nurturing customer loyalty and satisfaction. By tailoring messages to individual preferences, interests, and purchase history, businesses can create a sense of exclusivity and genuine care for each customerInfobip "54% of consumers claim that receiving impersonal messages bothers them. Likewise, 47% completely ignore those impersonal messages.

In this context, it is evident that people-based marketing emerged as one of the most prevalent and effective tactics during Black Friday 2022. This strategy revolves around understanding and connecting with individuals on a personalized level, utilizing data-driven insights to tailor messaging, offers, and experiences specifically for them. By leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, marketers were able to analyze vast amounts of consumer information encompassing preferences, behavior patterns, demographics, purchasing history, and more. From personalized email promotions addressing recipients by name to hyper-targeted social media advertisements showcasing relevant products based on past purchases or browsing history—marketers leveraged every available channel to create a seamless customer journey tailored precisely for each individual shopper. As a result of this astute approach rooted in deep customer understanding and personalization at scale – businesses experienced heightened engagement levels from consumers who felt seen, heard and understood.

Omnichannel experience

Infobip predicts that a variety of messaging channels will be employed in 2023 to reach consumers this Black Friday:

  • General interactions are expected to increase by 55% compared to an average Friday in November. 
  • SMS interactions are expected to increase by 54%. 
  • MMS messaging is expected to experience a 128% increase in North America.
  • WhatsApp usage is expected to increase by 15%.
  • Viber interactions are expected to increase by 52%.

In a 2020 study conducted by PwC It was found that the number of companies investing in omnichannel experience increased from 20% to over 80%, and that shoppers avoid retailers that are not well-equipped to provide a seamless brand experience online, in-store, and across consistent and continuous multichannel media.

Conversational commerce

Conversational commerce, with its sophisticated AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants, holds tremendous potential to revolutionize the consumer experience during Black Friday. By seamlessly integrating natural language processing and machine learning algorithms, retailers can provide personalized recommendations, tailored offers, and real-time assistance to shoppers in their pursuit of the best deals. Through instant messaging platforms or voice assistants like Siri or Alexa, consumers can effortlessly navigate through vast product catalogs while receiving accurate information about discounts, availability, and alternative options. Moreover, these conversational interfaces have the ability to understand individual preferences based on previous interactions or purchase history. 

Customer satisfaction

Even if the delivery time for one of your shipments is not ideal, customer satisfaction can be balanced through an effective tracking system that allows them to know precisely and at all times where their order is. In fact, 66% of consumers indicate that shipping cost and the ability to track the status of an order are vital factors in their overall shopping experience.

What’s more, according to a Salesforce study, if the service is excellent, 78% of consumers would return to buy from the company even after an issue or error.

Live commerce

In today's increasingly digital world, incorporating live commerce into your ecommerce strategy for this Black Friday is of utmost importance. The existence of physical stores has allowed consumers to interact with products directly, ask questions, seek recommendations, and make informed purchasing decisions based on real-time experiences. By integrating live commerce features such as live video demonstrations or virtual assistants into your ecommerce platform, you can bridge this gap between offline and online retailing. This enables shoppers to engage in immersive product exploration while receiving personalized guidance from knowledgeable experts - just like they would in-store. Incorporating live commerce not only enhances customer engagement but also builds trust and loyalty by providing a level of interaction that transcends traditional ecommerce limits.

As the anticipation builds up, it is essential to gear up for the much-awaited event - Black Friday 2023. This annual shopping event has become synonymous with incredible deals and doorbuster discounts that leave consumers exhilarated. As retailers strategize their marketing campaigns and meticulously plan their inventory management, brands must also prepare themselves for this battle of discounts and advertisements flooding all mediums. Are you ready?!

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