46% of marketers see Covid-19 as a potential barrier to in-store sales this year

August 18, 2021, Indianapolis IN With 100 days to go until this year’s Black Friday, almost half of marketers globally (46%) are considering canceling their in-store sales due to ongoing uncertainties around Covid-19. That’s according to new research from omnichannel customer engagement company, Emarsys.

The survey of global retail marketers also reveals that over four-fifths (81%) are planning to actively encourage customers to shop online rather than in-store as a precaution. However, worryingly, only 13% have finished their Black Friday preparations, with just over a quarter (28%) admitting that their company is yet to start planning at all. These statistics come from preliminary data released by Emarsys ahead of its upcoming Black Friday Bootcamp report.

At the same time, however, consumer demand for in-store experiences remains high. Additional data from 2,000 US consumers shows that 30% enjoy going into physical stores and have missed having this option during various lockdowns. A further 40% admitted that they still intended to shop in store this Black Friday, despite rising cases of the Delta variant.

Payal Hindocha, Director Customer Engagement Solutions GTM at Emarsys, commented: “With just 100 days until Black Friday, it’s clear that many marketers are less prepared than they should be for the annual retail event. However, while uncertainties around in-store activities are understandable, given the last 18 months, this is a key event in the calendar — and the time for finalizing plans is now.

“While the last year and a half has been disruptive, there is still time to effectively plan for any eventuality, whether sales go ahead in-store or businesses are once again forced to pivot to online-only. At the same time, it’s worth remembering that while Black Friday is a big priority for this quarter, it’s not just about the biggest discounts or securing the most sign-ups from new customers. Instead, retailers should see the event as an opportunity to attract loyal, repeat customers that will come back time and time again. Retail marketers across the globe will need to work hard to ensure that they are ready for both the big day and the long term, no matter what the future holds.”