Black Friday has been crowned the Super Bowl of retail for a very good reason.
A few years ago, Black Friday felt quite foreign to the Australian consumer – we associated the day with chaotic social media footage of midnight store openings, and mused in wonderment as to how a single person could carry multiple televisions at the same time – after all, Thanksgiving isn’t a public holiday in Australia and we were given very little incentive to participate in the madness.
Fast-forward to this past weekend and - thanks to the exceptional growth of online shopping - Black Friday sales were everywhere. According to the ABC, Australians are tipped to have spent $5.4B over Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
With most retailers now jumping on the Black Friday bandwagon, here are a few considerations for next year’s big event:
THINK BEYOND BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAY
By now, consumers know and expect Black Friday sales to happen – it is no longer a buzzworthy headline. In order to stand out from the crowd, brands must look to create multiple touch points before, or after the big event. They should ask themselves, is there a way to make this occasion even more special as a way to reward your loyal customers?
An example of this was Apple who launched an eDM campaign weeks ahead of their Black Friday sales to tease fans and provided deal sneak peeks to get fans excited about the big day.
While Black Friday is a great opportunity to grow email lists, brands need to have a fully fleshed out eDM strategy well before Black Friday to avoid being swiftly added to a growing list of junk mail.
We need to treat Black Friday sales as an opportunity for customer engagement, not one-off transaction.
DOES YOUR MESSAGING STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD?
Let’s face it, Black Friday messaging tend to look and feel very similar. Largely savings and deals driven, messages can seem identical to the 10,000+ other brands that are doing a Black Friday sale.
To address this, brands should ask themselves, 'is there a unique tone of voice that’ll help differentiate us from competitors?'
Cards Against Humanity has consistently taken a humorous approach to their Black Friday messaging in a way that differentiates them. Whether it is selling absolutely nothing for $5 or increasing their price by $5 for “one-day only”, these are definitely campaigns customers remember. Not to mention both campaigns actually drove monetary gains for the brand – the prior resulted in a profit of $71,145 split amongst staff, and the latter saw increased year-on-year sales.
BLACK FRIDAY WITH A SOCIAL LENS
Patagonia is a brand built with purpose and their messaging has always tied back to environmental sustainability and various social, cause-led angles. Their “don’t buy this jacket” & “shop less, buy used” campaigns blatantly pushed-back on the culture of consumption that is Black Friday.
With increasing awareness and consciousness around fast fashion, environmental sustainability and excessive consumerism, there’s concerns around brands actively driving Black Friday messaging.
While this article is all about driving cut-through - it is worth considering what your brand stands for and what your target audience care about. All things considered, NOT engaging with Black Friday sale is very much an option.
A lot of brands (Patagonia included) opt to donate profits from Black Friday sales to charities.
Another example to consider is REI’s #OPTOUTSIDE campaign where the business keep their stores closed on Black Friday every year to motivate their staff and customers to spend the day outdoors using their branded hashtag.
MAKE IT EASY FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS
It is important to remember that Black Friday is not easy for consumers.
The sheer amount of navigation required and overwhelming amount of choice means a lot of people end up either avoiding Black Friday sales all together, or give up after scrolling for an hour straight.
In recognition of this, consider what your brand can do to help simplify and streamline the process to make it a less overwhelming experience. This could be as easy as an “add to calendar” function, or an opportunity to curate a shopping list ahead of Black Friday sales where shopping cart prices gets automatically updated.
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