By Sarah Burns,
Who doesn’t like a bargain? I certainly do and shoppers will be snapping up cheap pre-Christmas deals left, right and centre come Black Friday, which this year takes place on 23 November and, of course, lasts across the weekend, through to Cyber Monday on 26 November.
According to the BBC, in the UK last year’s Black Friday pulled in £1.4 billion in online sales, which was 11.7% up on the previous year. It was a different story on high streets and in shopping centres, with footfall down 3.6%, but whether your retail outlet is real or virtual, competition for consumer cash is always fierce and on Black Friday a special prize promotion can make all the difference to securing your share of that activity and achieving standout in a crowded marketplace.
However, this is not a piece on marketing strategy, I want to make a plea that if you are running a Black Friday prize promotion, whether it be through influencers, online or in print, that you take extra special care to make it clear that your promotion is genuine and not a scam, particularly if it’s online.
Why’s that? Because scammers have Black Friday ringed on their calendars, too. What’s key about Black Friday is that it happens in real time. It’s frenetic, frantic and to make the most of it you need to be proactive and responsive. That goes for customers as well as retailers, and scammers are poised and ready to take advantage of the exhilaration and confusion.
Scammers are after personal data which they can exploit and in the heat of the moment it’s all too easy for over-excited shoppers to impart too much information and provide details which they really should keep to themselves. It’s also surprisingly easy for scammers to persuade people to throw caution to the wind and spend a little extra in the mistaken belief that doing so will, say, unlock a further discount, especially when they’re already caught up in the Black Friday whirl.
But isn’t it enough that your prize promotion actually is legitimate? Do you really need to prove it is and, if so, how do you do that? Well, I believe that prize promotions should be clear about their legitimacy, because it creates consumer confidence in your brand and in the promotions industry as a whole – and it all starts with terms and conditions.
Of course, I don’t doubt for a moment that you have terms and conditions, but make sure they’re comprehensive. If they’re not directly attached to the promotion, perhaps for space reasons as is often the case on social media, ensure they’re flagged from the promotion and that accessing them is very straightforward.
You also need to be transparent about any data capture mechanism you’re using and have the appropriate data privacy and protection opt-ins and policies in place.
If you’re running the promotion from, for example, your Facebook page, make sure your account is verified (has a blue tick) and that you’ve completed the About section, because these details underline the authenticity of your page. If the promotion isn’t running off your website, include your website address prominently and add a flash on your home page, so shoppers can check very quickly that your company and the promotion do indeed exist.
It’s a bit of a bugbear of mine, but in all the communications about your Black Friday prize promotion, you need to avoid spelling and grammar mistakes. I can’t stress this enough really. I’ve written before about why scammers can’t spell, so be one of the good guys, show you’re not a scammer and get it right. You know it makes sense!
And once you’ve recovered from the exertions of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, do send out any prizes you’ve promised, deal with any queries about parcels being lost in the post and publish a winners’ list.
Get these elements right will keep you on the right side of the rules and enhance your brand reputation at the same time.
Sarah Burns is Managing Director of prize promotions agency, Prizeology