Courtesy of iStock by Getty Images

Words by Elisabeth King

The lead-up to Christmas and Boxing Day has long been the sweet spot at the end of the retail calendar year. But international online shopping events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Alibaba’s Singles’ Day have super-charged sales opportunities.

Last minute shopping rushes have largely become a thing of the past as consumers meticulously research and make their Festive Season purchases to cue in with the best promotional offers and discounts.

According to IPSOS, the global market research and consultancy firm, 24 per cent of Australians bought something online on Black Friday last year and 17 per cent pressed the Buy tab on Cyber Monday.

The four-day period has been dubbed Cyber Weekend because the annual splurge has morphed seamlessly together. Australia Post’s 2019 eCommerce Industry Report backs up the IPSOS research by reporting that almost 15 per cent of annual e-commerce sales in Australia take place in five weeks from November 11th to December 15th.

Some of these events have been around for decades overseas, so why have Australians suddenly embraced the phenomenon?

The main drivers have been increased purchasing on mobile phones, targeted advertising directly to consumers and making online shopping an enjoyable experience through easy returns, fast shipping and more.

Cyber Weekend accounts for 15 percent of Australian e-commerce sales. Image courtesy of iStock

The beauty industry has reaped major rewards as brands and companies have become increasingly focused and sophisticated in reaching out to existing customers and recruiting new ones with value add-ons, deals and promotional offers.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday is our biggest shopping period of the year, says Katherine Mamontoff, Online & Omni-Channel General Manager Oceania, Estée Lauder Companies.

“The period has been increasing in importance over the last three to four years. Last year was our largest ever, growing sales over the weekend by 42 per cent. In addition, what started as mainly an online play for the company has now grown to taking an omni-channel view and being wherever the customer wants to shop over this crucial weekend.”

Although the Cyber Weekend holds great importance to our holiday trading success, it’s vital that the period doesn’t just pull forward sales we would have made in December, adds Mamontoff.

“We know that customers are looking for the best deals that weekend and are in the mood to shop. But we also have to be conscious of maintaining momentum right up to the last trading day of the season, and that means spacing out offers, deals and new product launches over the entire holiday period.”

Over the past few years, the Australian market has been flooded by international retailers, so it makes sense that we adopt their key sales strategies to make sure we are competitive, says Mark Tucker, Strategy & Innovation Director, Pure Beauty Australia.

“While the beauty category has been less impacted by international retailers than fashion, the industry has capitalised on the shift to online and the major events that drive growth and volume sales. Beauty consumers were initially hesitant to try new products online because they couldn’t touch or smell them. But returns policies and more experience with buying online has gradually built this channel into a very significant opportunity.”

Trinny Woodall, Founder of Trinny London, giving a tour of Zara’s offerings pre Black Friday

Before huge online events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, both online and offline retailers only had to create promotions leading up to Christmas/ Boxing Day to support the expectations of Australian consumers,” says Tucker.

“Now, we have Singles’ Day, which has been celebrated by the Chinese community since the early 1990s, but it is only since 2009 that Chinese online giant, Alibaba, has started to really monetise the event globally. Then we have Cyber Monday, started in 2005, and Black Friday, which has been a key sales moment in the US since the 1950s. The growth of these events and the buying frenzy they create have made them powerful sales opportunities for beauty brands.”

It is very important for all Australian beauty retailers to be a part of these vital sales events to ensure they are not only competitive, but also to give consumers the best they can offer, adds Tucker.

“It’s also about making sure Australian retailers understand their customers’ expectations to be part of these key events. Our brands – Blessed by Nature and Handsome – get uplifts of 500 per cent to 1000 per cent versus normal business. We also recruit new customers, who take advantage of the offers to try the brands and products for the first time.”

Tucker also singles out Click Frenzy and Afterpay Day as major opportunities.

“Both Australian events will continue to grow and develop and leverage their huge local CRM databases to drive traffic to your offers.”

For more on this story, see the October issue of esprit Magazine.

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