Leeds expert says digital vision is key to bringing in retail spenders

Dominic Celica, senior PR executive at Leeds digital marketing agency Blueclaw, writes for Digital City about how Yorkshire residents reacted to Black Friday.

Wednesday, 20th December 2017, 9:47 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th December 2017, 9:50 am
Dominic Celica.

There’s no doubt that Black Friday has become an international phenomenon – but how is this very American event received in Yorkshire?

With one report stating that 26 per cent of people in Leeds try not to spend on Black Friday, more than any other city in the UK, the Blueclaw team has taken a look at a few Black Friday trends.

Google searches for the term ‘Black Friday Leeds’ started to spike in 2014, with interest settling quickly.

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Searches aren’t increasing while, according to PwC, less than half of Yorkshire and Humber shoppers expressed an interest in the sales.

This difference is even reflected in the amount of money that individuals who did plan to shop on Black Friday intended to spend, with Londoners earmarking £300 to spend while Yorkshire shoppers planned a spend of £200.

While shopping centres were publicly talking up the expected footfall, there is increasing evidence that customers are getting wise to the event.

As Black Friday has almost become Black Fortnight, with offers starting earlier and ending later online, more emphasis should be placed on the digital side of the period.

The advice from our team is for local firms to plan campaigns as they would at any other time of year – with a focus on return on investment.

Some shoppers may well get carried away with Black Friday, but businesses need to be more level-headed about the discounts they can offer and results they can achieve. The most effective businesses focus on:

* SEO, Black Friday focus and site optimisation: Search volume for Black Friday deals isn’t increasing across the board, so businesses need to work harder to get a bigger share of visits from shoppers.

Black Friday promotion pages that use the same destination URL every year (for example, brandname.com/blackfriday rather than brandname.com/blackfriday2015 followed by brandname.com/blackfriday2016) build up authority year after year with search engines.

* Site optimisation: You may not be inundated with site visitors, but it’s better to be prepared.

Sites that slow down and creak when they experience a new influx of visitors are pushing customers away, even if the site doesn’t go down completely.

If your site can handle different volumes of traffic, can it handle different types of traffic?

Mobile shoppers can’t be an afterthought – Black Friday is all about attracting visitors and serving them as efficiently as possible.

* Advertising – with an eye on urgency: Black Friday hype can make shoppers more likely to buy items they wouldn’t normally consider, from stores they haven’t previously visited.

This is an opportunity to get your brand in front of customers who are shopping with an open mind, and have already decided to spend money on something – they just don’t know what yet.

Targeted pay per click advertising on Google and other channels can cost-effectively bring new visitors to your site who want to buy, but it’s all about compelling offers, knowing your ROI and making it simple (and urgent) for shoppers to make a purchase.