Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Moving from generalised discounting to personalised experiences

By Harry Hanson-Smith, RVP at Dynamic Yield, a Mastercard company

Many see Black Friday as the first real leap into holiday shopping, and with research showing that anticipation for the day starts in the UK as early as three months prior, it’s vital to understand the behavioural needs of different consumers. After all, it’s regarded as one of the biggest shopping days of the year, full of special deals, promotions, and discounts. Doing so will enable brands to get ahead of the competition, and, more importantly, they’ll be able to do so without resorting to deep, untargeted discounts.

Different consumers require different approaches

Every peak-season shopper is different, with some spending a long time researching what they plan to buy and for whom, as others respond to tempting offers they receive as they shop. Our team of experts have identified three distinct behavioural patterns which most potential buyers follow. What do these patterns look like, how do they differ and how can they be used to create personalised and tailored experiences during the busy Black Friday period?

  1. ‘The Gifter’ 

These customers browse the web in search of the right gifts for their loved ones. In no real rush, their chances of bouncing from the site are high, which requires them to be immediately engaged – personalising hero banners and delivering the right messaging and content is key to breaking through. And of course, strong value propositions, promotions, and financial incentives must go hand-in-hand with the engaging tailored content 

How to cut through the noise: Brands that do well with gifters know how to catch their eye by having product listing pages with content modules displaying specific calendar milestones. And recapturing an exiting consumer is key – exit intent notifications can help entice the shopper back with the right promotion or recommendation. 

  1. ‘The Researcher’ 

There are many customers who spend a long time researching and comparing offers, reviews, and products across websites before they buy; in fact, data shows that more than half of shoppers always do research before they make a purchase. To instil confidence in the shopper’s decision, brands should drive discovery around their products and show validation from other shoppers through ‘social proof messaging’, which concentrates on the impact group influence has on decision making. Brands can do this by highlighting how the visitor’s selection is highly desired or frequently purchased.

How to make it seamless: To reduce friction on product description pages, brands should also include time-sensitive order information, such as when the item will ship, when it is expected to be delivered, and other important details that can calm this type of shopper’s nerves. 

  1. ‘The Big Spender’

Showing the highest intent out of our three categories of shoppers, these individuals are ready to buy early as they know peak-season shopping will become more expensive later in the season. While they don’t need much to capture a purchase, there is a large opportunity to encourage greater loyalty and increase average order value through cross-selling and upselling.

How to help fill the cart: Brands should focus on experiences deeper in the customer journey, which might include wish lists or cart progress bars highlighting how far they are from free shipping, the latter which can be complemented by recommending products to help them hit the threshold faster. Personalised landing pages with recommendation widgets based on affinity, recently viewed products, and popularity can also be used to create an exclusive seasonal gift guide. 

Recipe for success: Getting your audience engagement strategies right 

While Black Friday is typically a time of mass discounting, brands can minimise the costs associated with discounts and set themselves apart by personalizing experiences based on the three main shopper personas. By understanding the different needs of gifters, researchers, and big spenders, brands can deliver more engaging experiences that keep consumers coming back for more.


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