A Black Friday Customer Story

A Black Friday Customer Story

Between Thanksgiving Day openings, #optoutside Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday there seems to be something for everyone this Black Friday season. But is there? On a day when nearly every business works to capture the attention (not to mention the wallet share) of shoppers by offering deals deals deals, the individuals in the throngs are being ignored.

Part of the Crowd

It’s 3 AM. Two women, bundled up in black cloaks and scarves, set out like thieves in the night. Any other night the mall would be empty, but when the women arrive they have company — perhaps better characterized as competition — vying for the door-busters and BOGOs that retailers hope will convert. Once inside they blend into the crowd, their conversation fading into the shopping cacophony.

Standard Marketing

Marketers need to know who those two women are. Without meeting them personally, we can make a few guesses. Age 25-45, female, motivated by promotional discounts, inclined to shop brick and mortar. That is about it.

Standard marketing means they receive a flood of emails, see deal alerts on ecommerce websites, maybe they even get a postcard or two, all advertising the same broad concept: discounts. When “discounts” become the common denominator, customers are simplified down to a generic group. And when individuals feel generic, they treat brands as generic too.

Real People

So who are they, really? Their names are Mona* and Maria. They are sisters. And from a product preference perspective, they love cashmere scarves. The only reason Mona and Maria head out in the black of night is to affordably replenish their scarf supplies. When they hit the mall, they split up and go to any brand they imagine might have cashmere scarves. They find the best deals and quickly head home to get back to their mother’s home. Maybe they hit, maybe they miss.

Their Story was in the Data

Previous Black Fridays, Mona and Maria bought cashmere scarves from several retailers. Those retailers (should) know this. They have POS transaction logs from Black Friday 2015, 2014, 2013 and beyond. They also have Mona and Maria’s names and email addresses from a loyalty program and their home addresses from their online purchases. All these signals roll up to an elegant story of sisterly friendship, a love of the spirit of Black Friday, a preference for cashmere, and an opportunity for savvy, data-driven brands. If just one retailer had put the pieces together, they could have spoken directly to the desires of Mona and Maria. But no one did. So they went anywhere and everywhere looking for deals and developed no loyalty for any brand.

What’s Missing?

The data was all there. It just needed to be unified so it could tell Mona and Maria’s story. What would you do if you knew them this well?

*the woman in the photo is the real Mona Akmal, VP of Product at Amperity

Related Reading Worth Reading

A Less Frenzied Black Friday as Millennials Opt to Stay In
Black Friday Sales—Europe Style
Walmart and Target to kick off Black Friday sales at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving
Why REI Is Opting out of Black Friday Again This Year
More Retailers Are Choosing to Close on Thanksgiving Day
Black Friday’s Inside Secret: Same Deals Every Year

by Rebecca Scully
marketing @ Amperity

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