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Want to reach your customers this Black Friday? Email is still king, but is it enough?


Gearing up for Black Friday? Kate Nowrouzi is here to help. Drawing on her experience as VP of Deliverability and Product Strategy at Sinch, Kate discusses the best channels to contact consumers, when to contact them, and provides tips on maximising your customer service strategy during this hectic period.

20th Nov 2023

European retailers will be competing fiercely for consumers’ attention this Black Friday. Maintaining effective communication with your customers during this intensely busy period is crucial to fostering their loyalty beyond the annual sale.

Informing customers about forthcoming events, promotions, or product releases helps to keep your business top of mind and ensures that your brand continues to stand out in the marketplace. However, the challenge for many brands in the coming weeks is how to effectively target customers across multiple channels.

To address this challenge, Sinch – a global CpaaS leader – conducted a recent survey of more than 2,000 individuals across the globe to understand their preferences for brand communication during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday season.

Our findings revealed a strong preference for mobile-friendly communication channels, with email emerging as the clear leader for disseminating Black Friday promotions that can be conveniently accessed on mobile devices.

Surprisingly, despite the omnipresence of social channels, email was comfortably the most popular option, with a remarkable 69% of respondents expressing their desire to receive information about holiday deals directly in their email inboxes. 

Graph showing consumer contact preferences for Black Friday
Sinch 2023 Global Email Engagement Survey

 But taking a one-size-fits-all approach to communication is not going to cut it in today’s dynamic customer landscape.

While email remains crucial, developing meaningful points of contact with your customers needs to be the ultimate outcome. The more choice of comms channels you give customers, the stronger your potential for maintaining continuous connections.

Obviously, your customers are not just on email, so brands must consider how many communication channels their shoppers use daily. Chances are they regularly engage with multiple channels.

When it comes to how customers want to receive promotions, a significant number of people also expressed a preference for receiving communications from brands via social media (22%) and text messaging (19%).

Utilising an omnichannel approach that caters to individual preferences and offers multiple points of contact for your most loyal and active customers is essential.

This data underscores the importance of adopting an omnichannel strategy for brands, as customers seek interaction across various platforms and channels.

Utilising an omnichannel approach that caters to individual preferences and offers multiple points of contact for your most loyal and active customers can set your brand apart and help you cut through the noise of Black Friday and other holiday promotions.

Among respondents who completed the Sinch survey, almost half (48%) expressed a desire for information on one-time or recurring discounts. They also indicated a preference for receiving promotional messages via SMS.

To engage customers effectively, brands should therefore consider combining email with SMS messages about attention-grabbing discounts to push time-sensitive promotions and cut through Black Friday noise in the customers’ inboxes. In doing so, they will capture the attention of consumers and provide them with a compelling way to gain real value.

While promotions are critical, meaningful communication with customers goes beyond sharing deals – the key is to build a communication strategy designed to make their lives easier and ensure seamless customer service.

According to our data, over 80% of consumers think transactional messages such as shipping notifications, order confirmations, and delivery updates are important during the holiday shopping season.

Interestingly, 50% of respondents said that they want to receive transactional messages from brands via one or more mobile messaging channels, including SMS and WhatsApp.  

Pie chart showing which transactional messages matter most to shoppers.
Sinch 2023 Global Email Engagement Survey

When do your customers want to hear from you?

Timing is everything.

Over half (57%) of respondents prefer communications from your brand well ahead of Black Friday. Among them, over a third (36%) want communications as soon as possible, while 21% like to hear from a brand at least a month in advance of the deal day itself.

Getting in early can be a winning strategy. It ensures that your brand remains on the radar of your subscribers when the big day arrives. It also offers an opportunity to craft a well-coordinated omnichannel strategy that leverages the strengths of various communication channels – including SMS, social media messaging apps, in-app notifications, and email.

83% of respondents interested in receiving text messages from brands anticipate receiving promotional texts at least once a month.

The survey also found that 83% of respondents interested in receiving text messages from brands anticipate receiving promotional texts at least once a month. This presents a huge opportunity for brands, especially during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Launching a well-timed RCS (Rich Communications Services) messaging campaign during peak inbox times can give businesses an edge over competitors. Keep in mind that executing a successful SMS opt-in campaign to expand your subscriber list well in advance of Black Friday is essential.

Top tips

So, what are our key customer communication tips as we head into this year's busiest shopping season?

With email being such a vital communication channel, it’s crucial to optimise it for maximum impact. This means preparing beforehand to ensure maximum deliverability and engagement by validating email lists, developing hyper-tailored messaging, and creating resonating content.

Winning brands will be the ones showcasing personalised, clear, and impactful campaigns that are optimised for mobile viewing.

Adopting a customer communication strategy that spans beyond email will also be critical to success since customers are engaging across a diverse range of platforms and channels.

By implementing an omnichannel approach that accommodates individual preferences and offers multiple points of contact, you'll be best positioned to differentiate yourself and break through the noise this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

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