Peak Trading – How to Prepare Now
Peak Season shoppers aren’t just any shoppers
The term Black Friday-Cyber Monday (BFCM), denoting the key peak season dates, isn’t strictly accurate: The action gets going on Grey Thursday (November 24), the day before Black Friday.
From there, brands will fiercely compete for shoppers’ attention to Cyber Monday on November 28, through Christmas and beyond.
Crownpeak's Peak Trading Report 2021 , compiled using data from more than 300 retailers, shows the lifting of COVID restrictions last year did little to dampen appetites for online shopping, which peaked on Grey Thursday, the day before the frenzy traditionally hots up.
New figures suggest this year’s crisis—a steep hike in the cost of living—won’t dampen spirits either.
Research by Performance Marketing World (PMW) predicts that 91% of UK consumers will take part in BFCM.
Optimism is universal. Research from the consumer engagement app Loyalty Lion suggests 66% of the UK population will shop for deals over BFCM in response to the cost of living crisis, with 75% hoping to find discounts in the run-up to Christmas.
Meanwhile, the Retail Technology Innovation Hub predicts an average spend of £283 over BFCM, representing a 25% increase from £226 in 2021.
If brands are to rise to the challenge of rapid, high-volume shopping over the peak season, buyer journeys must be more efficient, optimised and highly personalised than ever—and without a single second of downtime.
Create Brand Loyalty Through Personalisation
Crownpeak’s Peak Trading Report 2021 clearly showed the value of personalised journeys during last year’s BFCM period.
The report found that 76% of consumers were likelier to buy from brands offering personalised promotions over the peak period, and 77% said a positive experience would prompt them to refer friends.
Crownpeak offers almost endless opportunities for journey personalisation. The platform collates and analyses a vast array of real-time, historical and demographic user data like browsing behaviour, purchase history, age, gender and more to deliver personalised search results, landing pages, marketing emails and other laser-targeted omnichannel content.
Crownpeak’s algorithm also makes sophisticated data-driven appraisals in real-time about user intent—an invaluable feature over the peak period when buyers may diverge from their usual shopping habits to buy gifts for friends and family.
Boost Sales by Making Discovery Fun
Effective personalisation creates fun, fluid journeys that, in turn, foster deep brand-buyer connections and boost loyalty.
So how can e-commerce brands maintain those deep connections during peak season when shoppers don’t always know what gifts they want to buy or want to indulge in aimless window shopping?
The answer is enhanced product discovery.
Crownpeak’s product discovery features begin in the same place buyers most often do—in the search bar, putting natural language processing (NLP) to work autocompleting search queries and servings up a selection of relevant related brands, accessories and cross-sale items.
And it doesn’t stop there. Shoppers can go on to talk with chatbots and virtual assistants using natural, everyday language to describe their gift-buying goals in a way that feels like talking to a friend.
Virtual assistants and chatbots can respond using the same natural language to instantly narrow down and suggest relevant gifts from vast site inventories.
French brand Nature & Découvertes has put the technology to impressive use, guiding visitors to select from its +30K inventory of eco-friendly gifts by asking questions about the recipient and budget. Nature & Découvertes’ Gift Engine accounts for 9% of the site’s turnover.
Personalise & Future-Proof with Data
Every user data point makes the personalisation process more authentic and effective. The spike in visits over the peak period is an unequalled opportunity to collate, refine and leverage data to improve future journeys.
But brands shouldn’t make the mistake of making data collection all about who visits their store—the key to effective personalisation is more often about knowing why.
Crownpeak’s NLP-powered search can play a key role here by ‘understanding’ the intent behind non-standard, idiosyncratic and slang search terms and providing relevant results.
The platform also collects and analyses data about how the visitor reached the site, their viewed items and browsing patterns to draw intelligent conclusions about intent to power seamless omnichannel personalisation across future interactions.
In addition, Crownpeak's AI uses machine learning to process vast multi-user datasets to identify emerging trends, spot new customer segments and inform strategy going forward.
Stay Online & Ahead of Demand
Even the most well-thought-out personalisation strategies will count for little over BFCM 2022 if online stores can’t remain online and responsive.
Last year, the 300 clients surveyed in our Peak Trading Report experienced an eye-watering 2.9b server requests over the five-day BFCM trading period alone, with 9103 queries registered every second on the Grey Thursday peak.
Crownpeak's lightweight, responsive architecture gave our brands 100% uninterrupted uptime over peak trading, keeping some of the world’s most recognised brands online when it counted.