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Marketing Black Friday in the Cost of Living Crisis | 5 Ways To Make Your Brand Stand Out

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are amongst the biggest shopping periods in the student calendar, but ahead of this year’s season, shoppers and brands across the world will be wondering how the rising cost of living will impact young people’s purchasing decisions.

Last year, we reported that 77% of UK students and 73% from the US were planning on spending money during the Cyber Week period. This year, our research has revealed that 75% of US and 59% of UK students are still planning on spending money during this year’s season. An unquestionable decrease, but that means that it’s more important now than ever before to supercharge those discounts in order to boost engagement and secure conversions! 

The impact of rising inflation on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

So, why this decrease? Inflation, of course. Of those whose shopping habits have changed over the past 12 months, 32% cited the negative impact of the rising cost of living as the reason. Meanwhile, of those who celebrate Christmas, 72% of Gen Zers from the US said that rising inflation will impact their Christmas spending this year. 

Despite this, young people are open to BFCM (Black Friday/Cyber Monday) marketing and will be spending money, but as the figures suggest, they’ll be more aware of how much money is leaving their wallets. 

So how can you make your brand’s campaigns stand out, engage young people, and encourage (responsible) spending during this uncertain time?

Vintage toned portrait of women from New York, walking on the streets of Lower Manhattan, talking, smiling, having fun together on a nice springtime day.

5 ways to supercharge your Cyber Week marketing during a cost of living crisis 

1. Student discounts

A huge 89% of Gen Zers in the UK and 90% in the US want to see special offers and discounts during this period, so stackable discounts are an absolute must for students this BFCM – after all, that extra discount is what will set you apart from the crowd. 

Make sure that these additional discounts have a prominent position on the brand’s homepage so that your target audience is immediately engaged upon visiting your site. This can be made even more impactful by promoting these student discounts on your socials and via email.

Unsure where to start? Get in touch with Student Beans to understand more about the student market and how you can turn browsers into repeat purchasers.

2. Extra incentives

Sometimes a student discount just isn’t enough – Black Friday and Cyber Monday is the time for freebies, interaction, and surprises! 

Our research revealed that, during this period, 72% of US students would like free delivery, 77% free gifts with purchases, and 68% would like to see flash sales/time-limited offers. And for the UK, top priorities amongst Gen Z shoppers are very similar, with free delivery also being popular (68%), followed by free gifts (67%) and flash sales (54%). 

This is an exciting time in the Gen Z calendar, and boosting that engagement through additional offers will keep them hooked and encourage them to share with their friends. 

Gen Z girl shopping on street after school

3. Consider what you’re discounting

The most straightforward approach for you might be to offer a broad discount across your entire site, but this isn’t as enticing as you may think. Young people are cutting down on essential spending, meaning they’ve limited the sectors that they’re willing to spend money on. 

Our research revealed the most popular sectors amongst Gen Zers this Black Friday will be: 

  1. Clothes/shoes/accessories (79% in the UK and 88% US)
  2. Health/beauty (52% in the UK and 62% US)
  3. Tech/mobile (50% in the UK and 59% US)
  4. Education (25% in the UK and 31% US)

Consider this when creating your marketing strategy – how can you push these products and their discounts? (Hint: Check out point 5 for more…)

4. Festive gift giving

Now facing a cost of living crisis, spenders are more conscious of their disposable income and are savvy with their spending and bargains, using this period as an opportunity to think ahead and shop for gifts. In fact, of those who celebrate Christmas, 48% of Gen Zers from the UK and 50% from the US plan to start their holiday shopping in November so they can bag themselves some great deals. 

Tapping into this and centralising your campaigns around the holiday season and gift-giving is a sure way to engage these keen shoppers.

5. Looking to the future

Cyber Week isn’t just an opportunity to engage some one-time customers, it’s a time to begin or build on brand-consumer relationships and start the journey to earning loyal customers. An essential part of this sits with the authenticity of offers – after all, with limited cash to spare, young people aren’t going to take any financial risks.

Partnering up with a publisher, like Student Beans, will not only instantly verify students and provide a secure and trusted platform for your discounts to be hosted on, but will also help you engage and convert them. Publishers provide a friendly face for young shoppers, reassuring them that their money is safe. 

Another tip: be honest and transparent with customers from the beginning of your campaigns (and make it clear, don’t hide anything away in the T&Cs!) and ensure excellent customer service. Not only will this improve your relationship with existing loyal shoppers, but it will also pique the interest of prospective customers.

Group of Gen Z friends walking down the street together and laughing.

Any kind of spending is difficult for many right now, and this is only amplified by BFCM. Overall, it’s up to you to strike the fine line between engaging and enticing Gen Z into spending whilst not taking advantage of them. 

Having said that, young people need a bit of excitement right now, and saving money and treating themselves/others is the perfect excuse! 

Want to find out more about how you can connect with students, achieve your objectives, and drive sales this Black Friday? Get in touch with our team today to find out more. 

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