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Black Friday - opportunity for FMCG?

There is much debate in FMCG over the value of Black Friday and whether it’s worth getting involved. With lower price point items and shopper missions driven by routine, retailers are split over how best to serve their shoppers. As with any form of retail, the risk to shopper experience is high, but get it right and you will reap the rewards. So, how can grocery retailers and FMCG brands find value in the event?

First off, it’s important to think about Christmas trading. If you are a premium food and drink brand, for example, it makes sense to use this period to incentivise trade up for Christmas. Thirty per cent of last year’s total Black Friday spend in the premium food and drink category was made in supermarkets, including gift sets and party food. Brands in these categories should take advantage of this time to get their products front of mind, encouraging impulse purchases for Christmas entertaining. As one of the more expensive products, money-off mechanics for alcohol are a great way to drive trial and penetration, too.

Secondly, customer retention should still be top of mind during the high-pressure event. While high price-point electrical goods are generally a one-off purchase for most consumers, shoppers will buy FMCG items again and again. With 75% of last year’s purchases classified as being delayed or pulled forward by the event, brands need to prove that involvement genuinely affected like-for-like sales. Offering a coupon at the till to ensure repeat purchase is a great way to maintain rate of sale, using Black Friday not just to get shoppers in, but to keep them.

Finally, it’s important to get the balance right. While Black Friday is a great opportunity to trade up, FMCG brands should be careful not to devalue their products. While low prices were the main driver of food and drink purchases made last year, quality was also important to 25% of shoppers. The event should be used to reward shoppers with a festive treat, leveraging value over volume.

With consumer confidence low in the wake of Brexit (not to mention Marmite and Toblerone-gate), it will be interesting to see the uptake of what would have seemed like trivial savings on commodity items.


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