How lessons learned in retail can help your brand this festive season

retail lessons franchise
Taylor Fielding heads up marketing agency (Source: Supplied)

I walked past a Battery World store a couple of weeks ago and the team had skipped Halloween and jumped straight to the main course of Christmas decorations. And no, it’s not just you that thinks preparations are getting earlier…

This phenomenon even has a name, Christmas Creep. And much to my own surprise, this isn’t new, but was coined in the 1980s. 

Retail brands bring forward their marketing efforts to maximise the biggest sales event of the year. 

This year, as discretionary spending is being impacted after a record 11 interest-rate rises, Australian consumers are tightening their belts. The cost-of-living crisis is impacting most of our disposable income. Yet somewhat surprisingly, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is still forecasting pre-Christmas spending to be in line with last year’s. Timing here is crucial, as Paul Zahra, from ARA explained last year – about a third of all Christmas shopping has been done before Black Friday, with another 25 per cent done by the end of Cyber Monday. 

Competing for discretionary spending

But you don’t need to be a retail brand, to find yourself competing for consumers’ discretionary spending. If almost 60 per cent of Christmas shopping is done before the end of November, brands running traditional campaign timings in December will miss out on a huge market of Xmas shoppers. Meaning that brands outside of retail, will need to follow similar cycles to not be left as an afterthought.

We are already advising franchisors to mirror marketing strategies from retail, to make the most of this holiday season. Our market analysis has found that those who don’t offer a deal, are very likely to miss out on budget-conscious shoppers, potentially losing market share, given the current economic climate. However, it’s not too late to make the most of the upcoming Black Friday period. In fact October 2022 saw a decline in revenue growth as consumers waited for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. While 9.4 million Australian households shopped online in 2022, a monthly peak in November saw 6 million of us make an online purchase. 

This presents a very real and impending opportunity for those in the sector. 

Consumer mindsets

Franchise executives need to understand the types of consumer mindsets to capitalise on the most invested-in sales period of the year. 

What we’ve seen in consumer behaviour in previous years is that there are two distinct categories of shoppers: Sales event Planners and Impulse buyers

Planners will read reviews, product comparisons and research what, where and when to buy your product/service. It’s a great opportunity to know that those interacting with your brand, will likely be doing so with a serious consideration hat on. It offers you a chance to put forward your ‘why’. Why should your customer put you at the front of their shopping list. And you can start seeding content that will best help deliver results right now.

The best approach to target this segment and your existing customers, is through your owned channels (website, eDM, SMS, organic social). Again this is live now as you’ll need to allow this audience a longer consideration time than others. 

Timing is crucial

Whereas Impulse buyers will rely on triggers from social media and news and lifestyle websites – so it may be worth distilling information into short and shareable listicles of gifting guides.

Our planning teams have found that using data to target your audience often finds the best results for franchisors is harnessing content drivers for this audience through YouTube, Meta and Facebook events.

allows brands that may not have retailer-sized budgets to maximise to get the best reach instead of opting for mass market spray and pray.

Running special BFCM creative to appear different to your normal ads/content to grab users attention in such a busy/noisy period is key. Brief your creative teams now and see what they come back with. We’ve found content that inspires and utilises unplanned persuasion often works best. But it can be done quickly.


Source: Adobe Analytics, News Corp Digital Network, Black Friday/Cyber Monday Traffic 01/10/22 – 30/11/22

The impact of Black Friday

With all of the current economic challenges for consumers, and increased competition with reduced spending across discretionary categories, retailers (and franchisors alike) will be motivated to entice the budget shopper, with more consumers falling into this category. 

Increasing numbers will be using these event timings to stock up and get cheaper gifts for Christmas, and so now is the time to offer discounted gift cards, BOGOF, free delivery and any bundled packages for your audience. Even if it’s not an event you’ve considered targeting previously, your audience will be impacted by the way Black Friday sales play out. 

Black Friday has been in the public consciousness in this country for almost eight years, and Australians are well versed in this sale period with 2022’s event seeing over $7bn spent. The consideration period is likely to be a little longer this year for planners, but our advice would be to run an event one or even two weeks ahead of Black Friday to aim for an earlier share of budgets for this period. 

Even if you haven’t started, it’s not too late to put together campaign materials on your owned channels, and get yourself into the consideration bucket, ahead of Black Friday on 24th November 2023.