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September 8, 2020
8 min read
To modern consumers, the term ‘Black Friday’ refers to the day after Thanksgiving in the US. It is the country’s biggest shopping day of the year, and it’s quickly becoming a global phenomenon. Most retailers will roll out their biggest annual discounts to shoppers on Black Friday, a day that is not yet an official holiday, although it should be one.
Traditionally, people call in sick to take advantage of the Black Friday bargains.
So hold on, history buffs. We’re not talking about the gold market crash back in 1869 when we’re talking about Black Friday.
Nor are we referring to the start of the Wall Street Crash during the Great Depression – that was Black Thursday, a very different day.
Thanksgiving is an official public holiday, traditionally held on the 4th Thursday of November in the US.
The Friday that follows is one great opportunity for shoppers to burn off all that excess food with a trip to the mall. But why does the name sound so grim?
There are plenty of tall tales, but the term ‘Black Friday’ has its origins in 1950s Philadelphia.
Thousands of football fans would descend upon the city’s stores the day after Thanksgiving and before that Saturday, when the Army and Navy college teams held a match on neutral ground.
People would stock up on home goods, apparel, and giftable items – it was the start of the festive season, after all.
The chaotic scenes that ensued caused huge crowds and hordes of traffic. This annual event was the origin of ‘Black Friday’ and the name has stuck ever since.
Although you’ll always see videos of customers fighting each other over cheap TVs, Black Friday has moved online:
Hold on, did we just say ‘Cyber Monday’?
It’s a thing. While the history of Black Friday is that it’s just one chaotic shopping day, the event now leads into a whole season of discount selling.
The exponential growth of eCommerce has enabled retailers to continue discounting online long after the crazed queues of sleep-deprived people have gone.
In recent years, online retail has transformed Black Friday into a long weekend of bargain shopping for customers.
Cyber Monday – or Cyber Weekend, or even Cyber Week – capitalizes on that hunger for the best deals, and yields billions of dollars in retail sales.
For retailers eager to start the holiday shopping season in style, participating in Black Friday is still an absolute must.
Offering the best online deals shouldn’t be relegated to the following Monday.
Customers are ready to shop the day after Thanksgiving – often even earlier – so retailers should get ready.
If you’re a retailer, or you’re considering opening an online store, here are our tips.
It’s a smart move to begin pushing the marketing message for your Black Friday event in advance.
Shoppers are pretty familiar with seeing retailers build momentum via emails and social posts.
You don’t have to make the messaging overly complex. In fact, the simpler your post, the more exciting it will seem to your loyal and intrigued customers.
Announcing your discounting plans two or three weeks before Black Friday rolls around will ensure people have your store bookmarked.
Nobody wants to sit watching a page load, especially not on Black Friday.
With deals everywhere on this crazy shopping day, it pays to make sure your website is well-equipped:
Unless you’re running a huge corporation, it doesn’t make great business sense to mark down every product in your store.
Retailers can identify different objectives for discounting items for Black Friday. It might be that they want to sell stock from an older range, or promote a newer range, or attract new customers to their bestsellers.
Whatever the motive, bear in mind that taking a huge loss on Black Friday kind of negates the whole objective for retailers. Be selective on the deals you choose to run.
Knowing what to discount and knowing what stock you have: the two go hand in hand.
You should have an idea of what you have in your inventory if you have decided on your deals. An overstocked range that didn’t do so well might have been top of your list.
But you could have identified some key Black Friday sellers that are limited in availability.
Check out the status of your stock so that you can be upfront with customers on the big day. Or, if you have the time, make sure you have extras.
If you’re lucky, some customers will stumble upon your website on Black Friday while hunting for the best deals on the products you sell.
Take this opportunity to hook them into your brand with a clear incentive. Providing new customers with an automated introductory discount is a great move to pull on Black Friday.
Sure, you’re already pushing some sweet deals on your products. But offering 20% off on their first purchase is an easy way to make someone like you even more.
The shoppers most familiar with your brand will likely boost your profits the most on Black Friday.
Whether or not you choose to extend your deals into the long weekend like other retailers, it’s a good idea to keep existing customers happy both before and after the event.
Shoppers tend to stay loyal to retailers who offer points and incentives – the term ‘loyalty points’ rings true.
Pepper some additional discounts or add-on offers in those emails sent before Black Friday. Offering things like double points won’t cost you much.
A lot of people are jaded when it comes to Black Friday deals.
Aside from not wanting to wake up early the day after Thanksgiving, some shoppers also don’t want to feel like they’ve been conned by their favorite retailers.
There are some pitfalls to shopping on Black Friday, so if you’re thinking about splashing your cash, check out how to do it properly.