A Tale of Two Shops: How Smaller Brands found Big Success with Black Friday

by Toccara Baker

Posted on 11-26-2019

For shop­pers, Black Fri­day con­jures images of big crowds and big­ger deals. For retail­ers, the day that kicks off the hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son rep­re­sents a huge oppor­tu­ni­ty, as hol­i­day sales can account for up to 30% of a retailer’s annu­al sales.

Black Fri­day can be a chal­lenge for small and niche retail­ers, who have to com­pete with the deep dis­counts and prod­uct give­aways large retail­ers offer.

Last year, two UK retail­ers achieved record sales dur­ing Black Fri­day, prov­ing that small­er retail­ers can run suc­cess­ful hol­i­day cam­paigns with the right strate­gies and tech­nol­o­gy. Main­line Menswear, a lux­u­ry menswear shop based in Scar­bor­ough, and The Sim­ply Group, an out­door and active-wear retail­er, each gar­nered strong Black Fri­day sales by using Adobe Adver­tis­ing Cloud Search to reach their core audi­ences and max­i­mize the return on their search adver­tis­ing spending.

Main­line Menswear boosts sales with a smart search strategy

Main­line Menswear is a dig­i­tal-first brand that deliv­ers lux­u­ry menswear to fash­ion-con­scious shop­pers in the Unit­ed King­dom and around the world. The menswear retail­er has grown a loy­al cus­tomer base by offer­ing a large selec­tion of top brands and excel­lent cus­tomer ser­vice, rather than rely­ing on sales to attract shoppers.

Main­line Menswear adopt­ed Adver­tis­ing Cloud Search to auto­mate its paid search adver­tis­ing bid­ding. With the Per­for­mance Opti­miza­tion fea­ture pow­ered by Adobe Sen­sei, Adobe’s arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence and machine learn­ing tech­nol­o­gy, Main­line set goals and let the algo­rithms adjust bids automatically.

Mov­ing away from man­u­al­ly bid­ding on search terms gave Main­line Menswear’s mar­ket­ing team more time to focus on mon­i­tor­ing long-term cam­paign per­for­mance and effec­tive­ly scal­ing campaigns.

Those insights into cam­paign per­for­mance even­tu­al­ly trans­lat­ed into a suc­cess­ful Black Fri­day strat­e­gy. Work­ing with Adobe, Main­line Menswear pri­or­i­tized spend­ing on Black Fri­day cam­paigns that deliv­ered high rev­enue, not just large num­bers of orders. This sim­ple strat­e­gy change helped the com­pa­ny become much more com­pet­i­tive over Black Fri­day. By increas­ing adver­tis­ing bud­gets just 4%, Main­line Menswear increased orders by 33% and rev­enue by 26% for a 21% increase in return on ad spend.

“Every year, Black Fri­day becomes more expen­sive and more com­pet­i­tive,” says Robert Charl­ton, PPC Lead for Main­line Menswear. “Adobe helped us run test on a few of our biggest cam­paigns, set­ting our sights toward rev­enue goals rather than orders alone. This sim­ple shift in focus increased both orders and rev­enue with­out an increase in spend­ing, mak­ing us much more com­pet­i­tive on Black Friday.”

The Sim­ply Group reach­es cus­tomers through the right channels

The Sim­ply Group (TSG) has a flag­ship store in Faver­sham, about 50 miles south­east of Lon­don, but the retail­er reach­es audi­ences around the world through its e‑commerce sites. The company’s four brands—Simply Scu­ba, Sim­ply Swim, Sim­ply Beach, and Sim­ply Hike – each appeal to a unique audi­ence, which makes tar­get­ed adver­tis­ing crit­i­cal for the brand.

TSG switched from man­u­al­ly man­ag­ing paid search cam­paigns to using Adver­tis­ing Cloud Search to make sure it was spend­ing its search adver­tis­ing bud­get effec­tive­ly. Spend Rec­om­men­da­tions, pow­ered by Adobe Sen­sei, helps mar­keters allo­cate their bud­gets as effi­cient­ly as pos­si­ble by run­ning com­par­a­tive analy­ses and offer­ing sug­ges­tions based on mar­keters’ goals.

Using Ad Cloud also gave TSG valu­able insights into which of its adver­tis­ing chan­nels were per­form­ing best, which allowed the mar­ket­ing team to improve its strate­gies. For Black Fri­day week, the mar­ket­ing team worked close­ly with their Adobe account team to opti­mize their paid adver­tis­ing strat­e­gy and Black Fri­day pro­mo­tions. The cam­paign helped TSG increase sales by 5% while decreas­ing adver­tis­ing costs by 29%, lead­ing to a 62% increase in returns com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year.

“The rea­son why Adver­tis­ing Cloud is so entic­ing is because it makes deci­sions so quan­tifi­able and clear,” says Sal­ly All­sop, head of mar­ket­ing at TSG. “That helps us clar­i­fy our strat­e­gy and be more con­fi­dent that we’re mov­ing in the right direction.”

Anoth­er approach to Black Fri­day success

By tap­ping into the AI capa­bil­i­ties of Adver­tis­ing Cloud Search, TSG and Main­line Menswear were not only able to auto­mate their search adver­tis­ing, they were able to devel­op bet­ter adver­tis­ing strate­gies that ulti­mate­ly led to suc­cess­ful Black Fri­day cam­paigns. These retail­ers demon­strate that with the right intel­li­gence and tech­nol­o­gy, brands of all sizes can reach their cus­tomers on the biggest shop­ping day of the year.

The Sim­ply Group (TSG)_ and Main­line Menswear use Adobe Adver­tis­ing Cloud Search to con­nect with cus­tomers more effec­tive­ly through paid search adver­tis­ing. _Learn more here.

Topics: Advertising, artificial intelligence, Ecommerce, retail, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA