Are Retailers Prepared for the Weirdest Black Friday Shopping Season Ever?

November 2020 might just be the weirdest Black Friday ever, as holiday shopping begins and the retail industry continues to reel from the economic impact of the pandemic. Soprano Design, a leader in cloud-based enterprise communication solutions, urges retailers to fast track their digital adoption strategies.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, retailers may not be  willing to open their doors.

Investing in newer B2C mobile messaging technologies and planning now means retailers will be ready to differentiate with engaging customer experiences for online and in-store sales.

Boost Customer Engagement

Retailers that do not upgrade their communication technology to create an engaging customer experience, ahead of the holiday shopping season, will be leapfrogged by their competitors, says Matt Thompson, Global Product and Marketing Vice President at Soprano Design.

“It’s shaping up to be the weirdest Black Friday ever and we should expect lots of communication ‘noise’ landing in email inboxes from retailers announcing holiday deals. To stand out, retailers need to go early with online holiday sales, using technology like WhatsApp and SMS to cut through mass email marketing.”

COVID-19 has rocked the retail sector. Forrester predicted the sector would see a US$2.1 trillion global loss in 2020. Although people are spending, research from McKinsey revealed shoppers consider value for money, and prioritize essential items.

Standout from Marketing Noise

“With much at stake, an effective alternative to email is vital. We are encouraging our retail customers to start planning now. Creative use of messaging and the right mix of communications channels will be the winning combination to deliver and drive sales.”

Key communication tools for retailers include 1:1 mobile channels like SMS, as well as newer channels like WhatsApp Business and rich communication services (RCS) that can build on email and SMS strategies, says Thompson.

“People use different communication applications for different purposes – one size does not fit all. For example, I might prefer SMS for grocery delivery updates and WhatsApp for promotional texts and videos from retailers. Well-orchestrated, omni-channel Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) should be front of mind for retailers to accelerate sales post-pandemic. Messaging communication via text keeps customers engaged and delivers personalized information to the right person at the right time.”

Accelerate Digital Transformation

While COVID-19 forced companies to accelerate their digital transformation strategies, retailers cannot wait until Black Friday to act.

“Retailers need to take steps now and seed their November campaigns with customers early. This ensures consumers are familiar with their communication and purchasing process, removing any surprises,” says Thompson.

“There is still time for businesses to seize the opportunity to connect with their customers. Soprano can have your B2C communication technology running in a matter of weeks.”

IDC predicts the value for CPaaS in 2022 to be $10.9 billion. The global voice and text messaging markets are some of the biggest areas for CPaaS stacks, and it expects them to be worth $8.2 billion by 2021.

Source: Soprano Design