Before November 1st even arrived, Halfords had plans to begin Black Friday 2017 sales three weeks early — possibly the earliest-ever — and Kohl’s released the first major Black Friday ad of the season. (Kohl’s Black Friday sales are starting a full three days before Thanksgiving, too.)

This is all somewhat par for the course: Black Friday and its younger sibling, Cyber Monday, are huge business for retailers. As a result, some brands go crazy around the timing and planning. What do we know so far about Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2017, and what does it mean for mobile marketers?

The basic numbers to understand

There is growth in both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In 2016, an average consumer spent about $505 across the weekend that runs from Black Friday to Cyber Monday; the 2017 figure is expected to be around $743, which would be a 47% increase.

The average consume is expected to spend $743 during the Black/Friday Cyber Monday weekend. That’s a 47% increase.

Deloitte has even predicted that mobile/e-commerce will finally surpass in-store for the first time during the 2017 cycles for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

One tactic: create offers that are proven to excite fans of your brand

Seems obvious, right? After a while, all the doorbuster deals and mobile exclusive coupons might blend together for potential consumers.

A great example is Lego, which is re-releasing a massive (5,923 pieces) Taj Mahal set. While that set was dethroned as largest Lego set by a Millennium Falcon Lego set a few years ago, it’s apparently very popular on the “secondary market” for Lego enthusiasts. Lego decided to re-release it as a Cyber Monday exclusive with mobile add-ons such as a look at properly constructing it, etc. It’s drummed up a bunch of interest even before November officially began.

So while obvious, one of the best bets is to offer something that’s truly stand-alone or standout, especially to your most dedicated community members.

Put push notifications to work

Here are some 2016 examples, including this jam from Jet:


Check. One of the toughest parts of the holidays for people is awkward conversations with family members who may or may not know your middle name. (See also: political climate.) Acknowledge that in a push notification, get a laugh, and likely get a swipe. Engaged user.

Acknowledge that most of us are just using the awkward discussions as a reason to stuff our faces anyway. Get the push/swipe and go from there.

Why is mobile conversion lower than desktop?

Although the gap has closed, mobile conversion was about 1.65% during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2016 period. Desktop was about 3.6%. That’s more than double. Why the gap? The simplest reason is that mobile experience is sadly too often a silo/afterthought for companies, especially companies who make most of their revenue from brick and mortar.

But, the holiday season is busy. Like, really busy. People are on desktops at work, sure, but they also have work to do. A lot of holiday season context occurs around being “on-the-go,” and that’s where an effective mobile experience is so crucial. If someone wants your yoga pants but doesn’t really have the time to get to a desktop, you just lost a sale.

Focus on mobile experience. Make it intuitive and seamless. We all know this is important by now. Now is the time to make sure you do it.

Segment customers and personalize

Users spend 50% more money over Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend (true on mobile too), but they convert at 3% vs. a normal 7%. This likely indicates they are more motivated by sale price than brand loyalty, which creates an issue for marketers.

One of the easiest places to begin unraveling all this is true segmentation of users. If someone makes an in-app or mobile/desktop purchase during a sales period, they should be funneled to a different list/bucket in your back-end. Those people should then be nurtured throughout the weekend and then re-nurtured towards Christmas as well. If you have specific buyer history, consider customized landing pages or push notifications.

The goal is to turn a cost-sensitive shopper into a brand advocate. It’s hard, but with a shopping experience that feels targeted to them, it can be done.

Remember it’s not all about silos

If you have brick and mortar and mobile/e-commerce, they should be integrated on this crucial weekend. They should actually be more than integrated; they should be working together. Push notifications can send people to in-store locations, and in-store promotions can encourage engagement with the app/mobile site (10% off if you sign up and show the cashier your code, etc.) While different people may run the different experiences on your employee side, they need to be working together. If the customers feel the experiences of Black Friday/Cyber Monday are silo’ed, they may not keep coming back.

The bottom line

Focus on the core issues: user experience, personalization, and making sure your campaigns are interesting and well-presented. If you can do that, there’s a huge chunk of money to be made across that weekend. Go get yourself some of it, and then keep the customer base engaged through Christmas too.