Whatever your view of Black Friday, it has become the biggest discount shopping event in the UK, surpassing even the traditional Boxing Day sales.

Once only celebrated in the US, the event now has global reach, seeing brands slash prices in a bid to get their share of pre-Christmas sales.

Amazon was the first retailer to bring Black Friday to the UK, when in 2010 it held a 24-hour period of discounts and deals. Since then, the shopping holiday has ballooned in popularity – 91 percent of UK stores ran Black Friday deals last year. So, with competition rife for Christmas spend, what tactics can retailers implement to boost sales on Black Friday and beyond?

Understanding the online-offline connection and optimising at speed

Statistics show that last year UK consumers spent £1.39bn on Black Friday offers online alone. Of these, over a third (39 percent) of transactions were carried out on a smartphone. Yet despite the rise in online sales, in-store purchases still play a major role in overall spend. It’s therefore vital that retailers understand how online touchpoints drive offline sales and vice versa – particularly as the ever-growing number of channels continue to create more avenues-to-purchase.

The ability to measure and optimise marketing and media tactics based on their online and offline impact is possible through advanced measurement technology, but the act of measuring it alone is not enough to guarantee campaign success.

Too many marketers still make decisions based on data that is several weeks old, yet on a major shopping date like Black Friday, the need for speed cannot be underestimated. Marketers need granular, near real-time insight into the effectiveness of each touchpoint in the consumer journey, so they can pinpoint the messages and offers that are influencing consumers to buy.

By leveraging measurement solutions that refresh and remodel data every day, marketers can speed up their insights and make optimisation decisions based on what’s driving sales today, versus what worked last week or last month.

Eliminate gaps in coverage

During promotion-driven shopping events like Black Friday, brands are likely to increase their amount of advertising – offering coupons or discounts on influential advertising channels like Facebook, for example. Yet gaps in media coverage measurement can mean missing out on key opportunities. If marketers aren’t able to evaluate the importance of every step in a consumer’s path to purchase, then they can’t detect factors that are affecting consumer decisions or fully optimise their spend.

Advanced planning is imperative to help solve this issue, and marketers need to be ahead of the game in identifying and integrating new sources of data. By closing critical coverage gaps, marketers can establish first-mover advantage on new and influential advertising channels before the competition crowds in.

Test early and test often

During the November frenzy, the sheer volume of advertising can severely impact the messages that consumers actually see and respond to. It makes sense that the best time to boost awareness might be before or after Black Friday, rather than on the day itself.

Brand success depends on reaching and engaging consumers with a pertinent offer at the opportune moment. To achieve this, marketers need to be constantly testing and assessing channels, content, creative, and messages both in the lead-up to, and following, Black Friday. Also applying advanced measurement techniques, marketers are not only able to identify which creative and messaging resonates best, but also gain an authentic picture of the time lag at which certain marketing tactics produce conversions.

Black Friday is a once yearly opportunity for brands to bolster sales, and if marketed correctly, it can prove extremely lucrative. Paramount to sales generation is accurate, holistic, and daily cross-channel measurement, so that campaigns can be optimised intelligently in near real-time, and brands can reach consumers with meaningful offers that drive results on Black Friday and beyond.

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