Black Friday is quickly approaching. For many furniture retailers, it’s just another weekend. The wild shopping holiday hasn’t traditionally been a trigger holiday for furniture sales. First, the price point of furniture doesn’t make for a typical Black Friday shopping 2020 experience. But when the pandemic hit United States retailers, a select group of furniture stores threw the rulebook out the window. Which made for an interesting start to November and what many in furniture are calling the Extended Shopping Season. Also known as Black November.
Black Friday Traditions for Home Furnishings
While some retailers capitalize on the final shopping season of the year with small sales or promotions, many avoid it altogether. Traditionally, Black Friday and the popular online shopping trend of Cyber Monday focus on big discounts and small buys. Electronics, gifts, accessories, and other similar wish list items for the holidays.
Home furnishings have not been a line item on the Black Friday bonanza because of several factors. First, as we mentioned earlier, the price point. Crowds aren’t breaking down the doors of your local furniture retail store to grab the chesterfield leather sofas before they sell out. Furniture is a bigger ticket item that happens without frequency during the year for a family or shopper. Where retailers in home furnishings do win at Black Friday is discounting clearance items on the floor or promoting accessories like lamps or décor.
What Makes Black Friday Shopping 2020 Different
Tradition being what it is, 2020 Black Friday Shopping looks different for furniture retail. News from Q3 reports that Wayfair had its second profitable quarter in history. Amazon shopping still increases across all categories—including furniture. And while no one can predict the shift of the pandemic into the winter months, consumer shopping has changed. In-store shopping is available but many prefer an online shopping experience. At least in the discovery stage. This shift is responsible for what many experts are calling an extension of the Black Friday shopping season to more of a 2-month cyber shopping season. It gives the consumer flexibility and opportunity to save on goods that weren’t available earlier.
Speaking of availability. Inventory looks very different in 2020. Aside from the shopping behavior shifts, the home furnishings supply chain is in full disruption. Inventory cannot be guaranteed and that frustrates retailers and their consumers. With so many production lines halted from supply chain issues, the shopping options in the showroom are fewer than years before. Balancing this challenge with the need of your consumer is critical. And some retailers have figured out a path through.
What Home Furnishings Retailers Are Planning for Black Friday
We’ve heard from home furnishings retailers about their plans during this final shopping season of 2020. Many are breaking from tradition and reinventing their strategy. Which is appropriate considering the focus of Furniture Today’s Leadership Conference 2020 is Reinvention. We’re going to share some of the ideas from our teams, our clients, and successful retailers around the country.
Extending Black Friday Shopping Events
For some retailers, inventory isn’t the biggest concern. So they decided to extend the shopping season for the entire month of November through Christmas time. This gives retailers the chance to feature unique sales events weekly during the season. We’ve talked with retailers who took a single-day sale from previous years and extended the savings all month. And they’re using that message to market to new and returning shoppers.
BOPIS and Curbside Availability
While it doesn’t relate to the sales events, many retailers are using the boom of economy and shopping season to launch a BOPIS or curbside pickup strategy. This has been helpful for many retailers who saw sales drop when shipping delays deterred shoppers. When there is inventory for product, retailers are continuing to write new business because of their BOPIS promotion. It satisfies the safety-conscious shopper while avoiding the supply chain disasters down the line. The more convenient retailers can make a shopping experience for home furnishings, the better your business results.
Wish Lists and Favorite Things
Creativity is not in short supply like the inventory for retailers. We’ve seen some incredibly creative experiences coming out of the holiday shopping season. Everyone remembers and loves Oprah’s Favorite Things that premiers each holiday season. One of our experts recommends replicating a shopping experience that may not result in sales today—but building on sales for tomorrow.
Retailers who don’t have décor or furnishings in stock for the holidays can use a Wish List promotion or a Favorite Things campaign for your store. During November and December, promote each day or week a new item that is on your Favorite Things list for 2020. Shoppers can view the items on your website and add them to their own Holiday Wish List. This gives your store a handful of new leads interested in specific products. So, when they’re in stock or on sale, you can connect with these leads and convert to a sale.
Another way retailers are reinventing the holiday shopping season is by taking a proactive approach to marketing. Personalized messaging worked for many retailers during the pandemic. They communicate to shoppers about items they find interesting. That philosophy works well for retailers who want to be proactive in personalized marketing.
Instead of waiting for shoppers to come to your store this season, personalize marketing to shoppers who were showing interest in products you have in stock. Develop email drip campaigns to engage them and offer promotions or BOPIS for instant gratification.
New Collections Launching This Season
Retailers can often get a leg up from their manufacturing partners during the season. While many are pushing floor samples, innovative retailers are partnering with vendors that bring excitement to the shopping season.
Find out what promotions your manufacturers have during the November and December shopping weeks. Are there new collections launching? Some vendors like Jaipur have their biggest drop of new items during November. Using this information and excitement can boost your brand marketing during November and December to get more leads and shoppers following your store for updates on inventory.
A popular option for many retailers in the Holiday Giveaway. Because of the longer period of online browsing and buying this season, your giveaway has more opportunity to grow. Holiday Giveaways can be as small or extravagant as you need. For some smaller stores, one big giveaway at the end of the shopping season can generate hundreds (if not thousands) of interested leads. The campaign generates great awareness and traffic to your online channels.
For larger retail stores, hosting a period of weekly giveaways can increase your lead generation but also your sales by big margins. Research shows a giveaway builds brand loyalty and shoppers are more likely to buy more product when other products are free or discounted.
Reinvent Your Black Friday Shopping Season
What would otherwise be a dead season for many retailers can explode for the courageous and creative retail shops. Some of these options might not be a good fit for your store. Maybe you have too many hurdles to jump to make it happen. If you’d like to talk with our experts about strategies to improve your furniture sales online or in-store, we are here to help.