Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be different in 2020 for e-commerce

Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be different in 2020 for e-commerce

We’ve all seen those wild social videos of past Black Fridays.

Hundreds of people camping out in lines, then frantically rushing into stores as soon as the doors open to get the best deals, not caring how many people they knock over in the process.

Middle-aged moms elbowing each other to get the best toys, and crowds running to a pile of 20 televisions that are half off…

Sounds like a social distancing nightmare, right? According to new data, other Americans think so, too.

Since March, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused our shopping habits to change, with more stores, even local ones, converting to digital purchases and curbside pickup.

And now, Google is reporting that many Black Friday shoppers will choose to shop online rather than in person.

This may not seem like a huge shift. We’ve already seen, in recent years, the rise of Cyber Monday and online e-commerce dominance, as consumers take tor their couches instead of stores for the best deals.

Still, there is more than meets the eye to this story, and this recent data from Google only underscores that. So, let’s dive in deeper.



The Google Report

In June, Google surveyed global shoppers to see how the pandemic will impact their holiday shopping.

The survey is chock-full of great data, but the most telling data point is:

In addition, 47% of planned shoppers said they’ll use options to buy online, pickup in store/curbside pickup.

Presumably using similar data, big retailers, like Target, have already decided to close their stores on Thanksgiving after Walmart made the same call for the first time in 30 years. Even though trends have showed an increase in digital sales the past few years, this is a departure from the norm for these companies.

Aside from in-person to digital habit changes, 66% of shoppers say they will shop more at local small businesses. Even though there’s no clear data to point to why shoppers will prefer to shop at local businesses, during the pandemic local businesses have needed more support with fear that they would close, so it’s safe to assume shoppers are thinking this way for the holidays.

So, it isn’t just the big retailers that need to pay attention to this data when preparing for Black Friday sales.

All of this data means that marketers need to prepare now by optimizing their websites for the increased research of products, and building their paid ads strategy. For example, creating more virtual sales experiences through your website or embracing an omni-channel paid media strategy.

So, what should marketers do to prepare?

Marketers need to see this particular Black Friday and Cyber Monday season from outside the traditional blueprint. The normal rules no longer apply. Instead, focus on asking yourself what channels are trending up, and who is trending down?

To prepare, marketers need to examine their online customer experience with a fine-toothed comb. Marketers need to test and retest their user experiences far in advance of any big holiday sales.

This is so important this year more than others, because we should all be expecting a new influx of customers who traditionally visit the brick and mortar over online “storefronts.”

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