For Very.co.uk, Black Friday is the biggest retail opportunity of the year. Worth more than £2bn to the UK retail industry, it is when 30% of Christmas shoppers buy at least one present and accounts for 18% of the year’s total ecommerce sales, according to the company.
Yet that opportunity also provides challenges. Brands looking to advertise around the event face stiff competition online as the price of search terms rocket, Facebook feeds become cluttered with promotions and email inboxes fill up with offers.
In 2017, Very.co.uk identified an opportunity to tap into the £600m in sales that would take place not online but on the high street around Black Friday. However, without any stores it needed to find another way to create a presence on shopping streets across the UK.
To do that, Very.co.uk and its agencies Posterscope, Vizeum, Liveposter and St Luke’s wanted to use outdoor ads as digital shop fronts. The ads were powered by real-time data on audience, sales, search and location so they updated throughout the day based on competitor pricing, stock levels and trading deals.
The campaign “smashed” objectives, according to the company, delivering high ROI and showing how data-driven campaigns can help drive sales. That success also saw it win the Data-Driven Marketing category at Marketing Week’s Masters Awards in 2018.
The campaign helped Very.co.uk’s revenue rise 16.8% year on year for the seven weeks up to and including 22 December. That was above the 7% growth seen in the UK non-food online retail market, according to the British Retail Consortium.
Items popular around Black Friday had especially strong growth. The electrical category saw sales rise 16% on the previous year, with a 45% growth in gaming and 37% in smart tech.
And Very’s performance helped its owner, Shop Direct, to a “record-breaking” Christmas.
Alex Baldock, who was then group CEO at Shop Direct, said: “This was another record-breaking Christmas for Shop Direct, on the heels of 9% growth last year and 6% in 2015. Once again, Very was the star of the show, with sales outpacing the UK online retail market.”