How high-performing retailers view Black Friday

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Successful retailers see holiday events like Black Friday as important.

The most successful retailers approach Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other holiday promotions a little differently than their peers.

Eighty-four of survey respondents feel that consumers can get deals anytime they want (48% strongly agree, 36% somewhat agree), six in 10 (58%) strongly believe that holiday events are still a powerful source of revenue, according to a study conducted for Coveo by RSR Research. The study, “Black Friday to Cyber Week Evolution: What Are the Winning Strategies, Now?,” polled 92 retailers, most with revenues above $250 million, 

This belief in the value of holiday events rises to 76% when looking solely at the above-average performers within the same group and drops down to 24% when surveying the underperforming segment. 

[Read more: Do shoppers still care about Black Friday and Cyber Monday?]

In general, high-performing retailers have differing goals for holiday promotions than their peers, with 60% wanting to increase average transaction values as compared to 35% for lower performing retailers. Six in10 top-performing respondents sell-through inventory before products reach end-of-cycle (60%). 

Meanwhile, 62% of lower performing respondents are focused on getting rid of surplus merchandise, compared to 48% of top performing respondents listed this as a holiday promotion strategy.

Other findings

  • Nine in 10 respondents overall say that hyper-personalized offers are already happening. In addition, 90% think that hyper-personalization will end industry-wide special sales events as we know them within the next three years. 
  • Seven in 10 respondents overall say they will spend less on mass market promotions but expect to achieve greater sales through personalized offers over the next two years.
  • More than 50% of high-performing respondents say that easy returns, price or product availability, and social proof badging are important. A
  • Fifty-five percent of high performers say they expect to shift more than 41% of their sales value toward online shopping and fulfillment during Black Friday. For comparison, only 32% of underperformers report doing the same.
  •  Nearly two-thirds of high performers, as opposed to 35% of average/underperformers, are extending the return period during the holiday season. More than six in 10 (62%) top performing respondents are changing online search categories to make discoverability easier for shoppers such as “gifts for dads,” compared to only 41% of underperformers. And two-thirds of top performing respondents are using search engines to boost products right on the product listing pages. 
  • More than half (52%) of all respondents say they will have implemented generative AI in their contact center. Similarly, 52% will have implemented some automated capabilities in anticipation of increased call center volume this holiday season. Furthermore, 32% of all respondents say they are experimenting with GenAI capabilities now, possibly for implementation in the short-term.

“It’s clear from our research that industry-wide events are here for the foreseeable future – but no longer as mass marketing, ‘one-size-fits-all’ events. Gone are the days when you get people in the door with a sale on one item. It’s now all about personalized offers and deals,” said Brian Kilcourse, managing partner at RSR Research. “The research highlighted that over-performing retailers are aware of this strategy and using it to their benefit.”