BFCM 2023: Insights, Predictions, and Cutting-Edge Strategies to Navigate the Season with Confidence

Media Thumbnail
  • 0.5
  • 1
  • 1.25
  • 1.5
  • 1.75
  • 2
This is a podcast episode titled, BFCM 2023: Insights, Predictions, and Cutting-Edge Strategies to Navigate the Season with Confidence. The summary for this episode is: <p>Cyber Week 2023 is quickly approaching, and we're asking the questions on every retailer's mind: What does it take to stand out in this crowded arena? How can brands make this holiday season their most successful and profitable yet? Join us to discuss what consumers are looking for, how brands can be strategic in what they leverage to keep them happy, why higher risk means higher reward, and more.</p>
01:24 MIN
Can We Expect BFCM Sales to Continue Growing Year Over Year?
01:43 MIN
What Can We Predict for Cyber Week 2023?
02:28 MIN
What Are Consumers Actually Looking for From Brands This Year?
01:55 MIN
How Can Brands Set Themselves up for Success During Economic Uncertainty?
03:52 MIN
How Early Should Brands Start to Communicate Their BFCM Promotions and Offers?
02:04 MIN
How Can Brands Adapt Their Messaging to Their Shoppers Online Behavior?
02:18 MIN
When Will Shopping Peak During Cyber Week?
01:38 MIN
What Are Cost-Effective Channels Brands Should Be Looking to Leverage During This Holiday Season?
01:56 MIN
2023 Black Friday and Beyond: Strategies to Boost Your Revenue Whitepaper
00:50 MIN
Does Cart Abandonment Increase During Cyber Week, and How Can Brands Avoid It?
02:34 MIN
What Advice Do We Have to Give Brands the Holiday Edge?
02:53 MIN

Vern Tremble: Welcome to another episode of Individuality Unleashed, the podcast where we dive deep into the world of performance marketing, unlocking the secrets to success in the ever evolving landscape of e- commerce. I'm your host, Vern Tremble, and today we have an exciting episode in store for you as we gear up for the biggest shopping event of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Weekend 2023. Now on this episode, we're joined by the incredible, Megan Kresinske. Welcome back.

Megan Kresinske: Thank you, Vern. It's been a while.

Vern Tremble: Yes, it has been. Megan is our senior director of product marketing here at Wunderkind. She's absolutely phenomenal. If you've been following the podcast, you've heard her incredible insights. She has more to share with you today, specifically insights, predictions, and cutting edge strategies that will help you navigate this high stake season with confidence. Now, what we know is that Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Cyber Week in general have become the battlegrounds where businesses compete for consumer attention in dollars. But in the age of individuality and personalization, what does it take to truly stand out in this crowded arena? That's the question we aim to answer for you today. So grab your headphones and your notepads because by the end of this episode, you'll be armed with the knowledge and inspiration you need to make BFCM and Cyber Week 2023 your most profitable and memorable yet. So, Megan, let's get started.

Megan Kresinske: Let's do it.

Vern Tremble: Awesome. So first question, hot take, BFCM sales have grown year over year. We know this. Can we expect this to continue?

Megan Kresinske: Well, the good news is, because I like starting podcasts off on a positive note, yes-

Vern Tremble: Yes.

Megan Kresinske: ...we definitely can expect growth in 2023, so we can sigh a little bit of relief there. However, I have to caveat-

Vern Tremble: Right.

Megan Kresinske: ...that the outlook is definitely moderate this year. So Bain just came out with their latest research report and they're reporting a 3% growth in U. S. retail sales this holiday season, which is actually the lowest it's been since 2018. The reason I want to highlight that is I think for brands, we've had a little bit of that comfort that during Covid with accelerated sales, it was okay that last year in 2022 that we saw similar sales to 2019, right? It was pre- pandemic growth. So it's like, " We're back to normal." But this year we're now looking at 2018. So it is dipping to even lower than previous. Why is that happening? There's a lot of reasons, but I think even though inflation has cooled, so have sales, unfortunately. But the good news for our e- commerce friends is unlike years past where we actually saw a bit more of a boom for in- store shopping, Bain is predicting that that 90% of growth is going to come from e- commerce this year. So less shopping in store, more shopping online and growth. We're still having growth, Vern. So it's going to be good.

Vern Tremble: That's great. And that leads well into our next question. Now understanding that there's still going to be growth, not as substantial as in years past-

Megan Kresinske: We'll take 3%.

Vern Tremble: That's something, that's good. Not a home run, but certainly still positive outlooks. What can we predict for Cyber Week 2023?

Megan Kresinske: No, it's a great question. I think predict is kind of funny here because 2023, in my opinion, has been anything but predictable. In fact, I think the market thinks the same. So throughout 2023, American consumers have definitely surprised Wall Street. I'm sure we've all seen the headlines of the looming recession, when's it happening? And they can't quite pinpoint it. It's really led to higher than expected growth in the U. S. economy than they originally predicted at the start of this year. But I'd still stay for retailers to exercise caution. I don't think we're going to anticipate crazy shopping spree, but consumers are definitely still shopping. So that's one prediction. Another one is, I think no surprise to anyone on this podcast, that heavy discounting will happen. So retailers definitely made the right call last year to drive demand through heavy discounting. It spurred online levels to much higher than expected results and definitely reinforced e- commerce as a channel to drive volume and capture consumer interest. So I think retailers will take a page out of that book and definitely, especially considering how cautious consumers are being with spending, drive more discounts. And the final point I'll say here in terms of just looking back to last year is 2022 also had this similar gloom narrative. But as I mentioned at the top of this podcast, it still resulted in growth. So while no one can predict the future, or else we'd be doing cooler stuff today, I still think because it had that similar gloom sentiment, we'll still see growth for this year.

Vern Tremble: What are you talking about? What we're doing is super cool.

Megan Kresinske: I'm having a great time actually, and we're only a few minutes in.

Vern Tremble: All right. Exactly. We always have fun when we're on podcast together.

Megan Kresinske: Yes.

Vern Tremble: But you mentioned consumers, I think this is a big one. I know our listeners want more insight on consumer behavior for Cyber Monday, cyber Week 2023. What are consumers actually looking for from brands this holiday season?

Megan Kresinske: I think consumers have several expectations from brands, right? We're both consumers. I think we have high expectations when it comes to our spend and what we want out of it. So a couple of stats here, 67% of consumers are seeking discounts, and this is highly driven by the instability of the economy. Also people just like a discount, right? So at the shopping season, this is something they're going to want. But I think the bigger concern here is that over 70% of brands are really concerned because of the economy, because of inflation that consumers are going to cut back on spending. So I think brands are going into this holiday season a bit more reserved, and they also have to be reserved with their tactics as well. So I think overall from a shopping perspective, they're also predicting that half of orders that happen this holiday season are going to involve promotional products, especially ones that involve free gift with purchase. So that could be an interesting tactic for brands. And finally, sustainability is definitely a hot topic. Consumers are prioritizing eco- friendly products and practices. So I think if brands want to lean into something there that isn't discount heavy, you could talk more about your sustainability efforts because that's really resonating with consumers.

Vern Tremble: No, that's really good. No, that's really impactful and I think some takeaways that marketers can start to implement immediately ahead of the holidays. Now, you talked a bit about consumers in the market sending these mixed signals, like you said, strong labor market, cooling inflation, slightly optimistic about the economy, all of these things. How can brands handle this and set themselves up for success regardless of this economic uncertainty?

Megan Kresinske: You bring in tough questions.

Vern Tremble: You know a little bit.

Megan Kresinske: I love it. All right. I inaudible my point of view is obviously not every industry is created equally, right? And especially in an uncertain economy, there becomes more of a dilemma on a consumer of must haves versus nice to haves, right? Must haves like food, gas to get to work, right? Clothes. Nice to haves might be like, " That nice new purse I've been eyeing, do I really need it? No, but I'd love to have it." So I think every consumer right now is in control and they are making these trade- off decisions based off how inflation, the economy, their current job is really affecting them personally. So in terms of what brands can do here with this mix signal economy, I think they can be more strategic about the outlets in which they leverage specifically optimizing their own channels and deciding what offers they're willing to give based off what they think their consumers will respond to. Obviously Wunderkind is a great partner to help brands with that. And another call out is while consumers might be cutting back now, that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be true for the holiday season, right? Most of these rules go out the window when you're thinking about someone you need to buy a Christmas, or Hanukkah gift, or whatever it may be, you find wiggle room for budget. So I still think there's going to be consumer spend here. And my last point is in relation to last year because I do think it's good to give that perspective. Over 56% of BFCM dollars were spent digitally by brands. So while even brands have tighter budgets in addition to consumers having tighter budgets, those who placed an emphasis on their online presence definitely saw higher returns compared to those who didn't. So just stuff to think about. I think consumers will definitely be more open to spend, and brands who are more open to increasing their online budgets will have a much higher return.

Vern Tremble: 100%. Higher risk, higher reward.

Megan Kresinske: Yes. You say it so much more simply. It's clear I just like to talk, and then you're like, " This is all we need to know."

Vern Tremble: No, everything that you said is brilliant, but ultimately getting down to... Because it made me think, it's like as marketers we're often told the best mix of channels, and content, and strategies, but what we're saying now is like, " If you really want to hone in on the biggest reward, you really should focus on your own channel strategy-"

Megan Kresinske: Yes.

Vern Tremble: "...for you to be successful this year."

Megan Kresinske: For sure. I couldn't agree more. It's completely in your control, it optimizes your budget, you're not putting more money into paid, and this is where your consumers are going and where they're getting the best impression of your brand. So I couldn't agree more, Vern.

Vern Tremble: It makes me think as far as the next question, with that owned channel strategy in place, how early should brands start to communicate about BFCM promotions and offers?

Megan Kresinske: Well, good question now. It's so funny. I mean, for those listening, Vern and I are on the same marketing team, and we just got calendar invite for Friendsgiving and I'm like, " Who's putting this Friendsgiving invite on our calendar?" Not thinking that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means our Super Bowl, as we've talked about before with BFCM, is definitely around the corner. So I'd say don't wait for Cyber Week. Data definitely shows that consumers are looking for incentives earlier. And, of course, our friends at Amazon just recently announced their next Prime Day for October 10th. So I think that's going to cause, even for myself personally, right? I try not to use Amazon, but they are very tempting. But if I'm thinking about what I'm looking to buy this holiday season, am I looking to do it as soon as October because Amazon might present an interesting opportunity for me, or am I going to wait for the Cyber Week sales? And we also work with a ton of brands that sell on Amazon too. So it would be thinking about that strategy as soon as, well, probably already, right? Because they're thinking about the tactics for how they're going to be represented on Prime Day. So I don't know today, Vern. Let's go.

Vern Tremble: No, that's a great recommendation, and everyone should heeded Megan's advice because it is very sound advice. We have-

Megan Kresinske: I'm ready for some discount, so I'm ready to shop.

Vern Tremble: I'm like, " Amazon's cool. No, I'll wait for a 25% discount. I don't need-"

Megan Kresinske: 100%. That's the consumer mentality.

Vern Tremble: 100%. Now, the next question. How can brands adapt their messaging to their shoppers online behavior during Cyber Week? And what does that look like in action?

Megan Kresinske: Adapting messaging. All right. Then I'm going to ask you a question, Vern. Are you ready? Would you say you're an early bird shopper or a procrastinator?

Vern Tremble: A 100% procrastinator.

Megan Kresinske: Everyone listening, Vern's very organized. So I assumed for your kids you be ready to go with their lists.

Vern Tremble: I'm the worst. I don't like shopping.

Megan Kresinske: Can we remove that from the podcast? No, I'm just kidding. I totally get it. Although online shopping obviously probably makes it much easier for you, Vern.

Vern Tremble: Yes, it does.

Megan Kresinske: Well, I would say I'm probably an early bird, so that kind of makes this nice because brands really need to think about accommodating both perspectives, right? For early birds, you're going to want to emphasize scarcity with messages like, " Get it before it sells out," right? That whole FOMO effect. For procrastinators like you, you're going to want to highlight urgency in your messaging with things like, " Our best deal ends soon, come check it out now."

Vern Tremble: It does work.

Megan Kresinske: Right?

Vern Tremble: All right.

Megan Kresinske: And those work, right? Those mess with you like, " I need this deal." My sister even the other day told me that she missed a deal. She was looking to buy a new coffee maker from Nespresso, and she went to place her order after midnight. I was like, " You're crazy. I'm already asleep by then," and missed the promo period. And she sent them an email begging them and they actually did. So shout out to Nespresso for honoring discounts for procrastinators like my sister.

Vern Tremble: I put them on as a inaudible.

Megan Kresinske: I totally agree. But I think any tactics to inform your consumers where they are, especially text messages about expiring offers to capture conversions that they may have not been potentially able to do, driving more of that urgency, I think, is really important.

Vern Tremble: That's awesome. So that leads me to the question. We talked about the duality of procrastinators and early birds.

Megan Kresinske: Yes.

Vern Tremble: What's the nexus moment? When will shopping peak during Cyber Week?

Megan Kresinske: From what we've seen on the Wunderkind side, and I think this is across the industry, is Cyber Week has definitely shifted. The highest traffic online now occurs on Friday. I know that kind of sounds silly. But if you think about how this all used to start, Black Friday was the day everyone queued up outside after they ate turkey, right? For stores. And Cyber Monday was sort of that, " I couldn't get that TV in store. So I'm going to look online." Now we've kind of shifted. We've even talked about BFCM. It's kind of even not Black Friday, Cyber Monday anymore. It's Saturday, it's Sunday, it's all the days in between. So we're definitely seeing traffic actually peak at the start, right? People knowing that these discounts are happening. So they want to start their shopping as early as possible. And I think brands can do a really great job of the week leading up to Black Friday by keeping top of mind with their consumers. Again, I'd say the earlier, the better because I think, Vern, you know as consumers, you get a lot of those messages. So brands that are very strategic about that, maybe doing gentle reminder on Wednesday about their promos, we'll see more success and we'll stand out amongst the promotional noise.

Vern Tremble: 100%. That's really good. So understanding peak, let me see. What other things am I thinking about? I have one. What are cost- effective channels brands should you use for this holiday season communication?

Megan Kresinske: Holiday, of course, is really important, but cost- effectiveness, I think, is something everyone's thinking about now, especially with the instability of the economy. And with spending slowing, it will be even more important to invest in channels that will ensure you have a positive return, obviously this holiday, but holiday and beyond. So we've talked a lot about this today, and it's not just because we're obsessed with them because we work at Wunderkind, but optimizing your own channel, so your mobile apps, your email, your text message, your website is definitely the best way to ensure that your paid investments don't go to waste. You're paying a lot of money to serve ads on Facebook or Instagram. You definitely want to have ways that you can actually capture those users once they land on your site and reengage them through tactics like triggered email and text campaigns. I'd also say first party data obviously is king. Apple just released their latest iOS 17 update. Google is officially making moves to deprecate third party cookies even though I know, total eye shock, we've been talking about this for... My whole life, I think, we've been inaudible third party cookies, but it's happening. I think they announced that they want to officially deprecate it by the second half of 2024. So, again, this is a great opportunity to prioritize list growth and partners like Wunderkind can certainly help you out there.

Vern Tremble: Megan, I think that's awesome. I think it's also a good segue to plug shamelessly a recent piece of content that we just launched called the 2023 Black Friday 2023 and Beyond: Strategies to Boost Your Revenue white paper. It's full with tons of actionable insight along with predictions for BFCM. A lot of what we're talking about today is mentioned in there, where and how to meet consumers on different channels and foster loyalty, and how to deploy BFCM marketing strategy successfully to drive revenue. It's a guide that's jam- packed full of information. You can find it at wunderkind. co. So if you're interested, the link will be down below, but you should definitely check it out.

Megan Kresinske: All right. I love it. I read it. I may have gotten some insights for this podcast from it.

Vern Tremble: You should.

Megan Kresinske: Yes, it's a fabulous piece of work. I hope everyone has a chance to read through.

Vern Tremble: Yes, please do that. Now, we're going to go to the next question around cart abandonment. So does cart abandonment increase during Cyber Week, and how can brands work to avoid this? This is a hot one.

Megan Kresinske: I think it doesn't just increase, it skyrockets cart abandonments out of control during the holiday season. So I think in order to mitigate this, I talked about this a little bit before, but you definitely want to prioritize list growth before the holiday season to capture more of your site traffic. Again, Wunderkind's a really great tool to help recover abandoned carts and maximize your email and texts abandonment programs which contribute significantly to driving digital revenue and capturing more of those carts that you may not have otherwise known about. In fact, fun fact, the e- comm average for email contribution to total percent of revenue for email is 17%. Wunderkind clients outperformed the industry average and they drove 22% of digital revenue from email during holiday. So 5% over industry average. So we're pretty good at capturing those baskets where people are mulling over their decisions and actually converting them to purchases.

Vern Tremble: That's amazing stats. I didn't realize that. And that's actually good to know.

Megan Kresinske: Pretty good.

Vern Tremble: That's really good. Here's my creative mind. I imagine a ton of shoppers in Walmart or wherever with all of their carts and they just walk away. And it's like, "Leave them." And it's our jobs as marketers to figure out ways to get them to the checkout line.

Megan Kresinske: I know. That would be a pretty funny campaign actually-

Vern Tremble: I know.

Megan Kresinske: ...chasing shoppers with carts. But you know they want it. So that's the thing. We're just leading them to their original decision. Yes.

Vern Tremble: We have their carts. The carts are in the store, they're outside of the store looking in the window with their arms folded waiting for more discount.

Megan Kresinske: 100%. That's how I approach all my shopping.

Vern Tremble: For those of us that are offering those incentives, be warned. Consumers are looking for discounts, and-

Megan Kresinske: Yes.

Vern Tremble: ...not to the detriment of your brand, but you should really ensure that that's a part of your strategy.

Megan Kresinske: Totally agree.

Vern Tremble: Awesome. Now, final question. How can brands have the holiday edge? What advice do you have for brands out there to really set them apart against their competitors?

Megan Kresinske: It's a great question. I think we all know effective marketing is all about influence and strategically putting investment in where you think you'll have the most impact. So we can't control the state of the economy, but you can control how consumers see your value relative to other options out there. You can use levers like price, shopping convenience, discounts, and even other important factors, which I think we talked about today like customer experience. Customer experience is huge. I even just had a chat with someone mentioning that they loved a brand, but they didn't have a good returns program. And it's like, " Is that going to stop you from shopping?" And they're like, " Yes, I want to have that optionality, right?" So I think having a great website experience, engaging something else, fresh content so that you don't perceive to be stale amongst your consumers, definitely goes a long way. And also an easy win, and not just because I work at Wunderkind, is to keep your deals and your brand top of mind by communicating in your own channels. And obviously we are certainly here to help with that.

Vern Tremble: And if anyone wants to learn more, certainly go to the site There are several CTAs all throughout the site. So no matter what you're on, we'll happily accept you into our funnel and provide more information.

Megan Kresinske: Absolutely. We certainly will.

Vern Tremble: Awesome. Well, Megan, thank you so much. Like I said, I absolutely love it when you are on our episode of Individuality Unleashed. You make it so fun.

Megan Kresinske: Thanks for having me. It's such a blast. Such a pleasure.

Vern Tremble: Absolutely. Can we actually have you back for the recap? I think that might be-

Megan Kresinske: Yes, post Cyber Week. Let's chat about it. Let's see if my predictions came true.

Vern Tremble: We're literally going to put up a picture and picture. It's like, " What did she say? Was she right? Was she wrong?"

Megan Kresinske: I'm here for it. Yes, I'm hoping I'm right, but I'm hoping I'm wrong about 3% growth and we see more of it this holiday season.

Vern Tremble: I agree.

Megan Kresinske: Yes.

Vern Tremble: I think that brands that align with the strategies and insights that you provided today stand a really good chance of seeing greater growth than what's been predicted today.

Megan Kresinske: Fabulous.

Vern Tremble: Awesome. Well, thank you once again, Megan.

Megan Kresinske: Anytime.

Vern Tremble: Awesome. Absolutely. We'll see you next time. And, again, folks, that's another episode of Individuality Unleashed.


Cyber Week 2023 is quickly approaching, and we're asking the questions on every retailer's mind: What does it take to stand out in this crowded arena? How can brands make this holiday season their most successful and profitable yet? Join us to discuss what consumers are looking for, how brands can be strategic in what they leverage to keep them happy, why higher risk means higher reward, and more.