Food for thought

Thinking about Black Friday…

By November 29, 2019 No Comments

I like you. You haven’t been camping overnight to be first in ASDA, just to get your hands on a 20% off television.

My hope is that you’re reading this all smug. You’ve just got a naughty deal on that bit-too-expensive-for-normal product you’ve had your eye on for weeks. Bravo.

And hey, if you’ve been clever enough wait for your Abandoned Cart email with an extra 10% discount, hats off to you.

If this is the first you’ve heard of Black Friday, Welcome Back. (Where on earth have you been?!). Black Friday is the latest Americanism to infiltrate the UK. It’s now firmly on the minds of shoppers hunting a pre-Christmas bargain, and businesses looking to capture some new customers.

In 2013, Retail Week said that “We should ignore Black Friday” because “not everything that comes across the pond is appropriate for the British High Street.”

Might be right, but that statement has not aged well now, has it!

But what about it then: is Black Friday worth it? Is it here to stay? Or is it just one weird game of cat and mouse consumerism? I had a look into it as a timely contribution to our gently boundary pushing blog.

How did it start?

Black Friday is an informal name for the Friday following Thanksgiving in the States. For us Brits, that’s simply the fourth Thursday in November.  Black Friday is seen as the start of the “shopping season”, and apparently it’s been that way since 1952.

With this propensity for shopping, some stores started to offer mega-discounted rates; and to make more of a “thing” of it, some even opened at daft times. What would it take for you to wait for a midnight opening?

The origin of the name ‘Black Friday’ (How hasn’t this upset generation snowflake yet by the way?!) is up for contention. Most widely accepted seems to be that this day makes the shops to go from being in the red, to being in the black. Neat.

Black Friday has been the busiest shopping day in the US since 2005, and the growth in the UK is undeniable… but…

Will it stay?

I doubt it.

Black FRIDAY is mostly now a “Black Friday Event” with most retailers pushing week long offers. Curry’s PC World, for instance, are calling it the “Black Tag Event”. While this eases operational woes and stresses on staffing – for me, having the deals over the course of a week, just dilutes the intensity and makes them less effective. People are more likely to act if you give them a hard deadline.

I prefer the punchiness of the single day, might just be me. ?‍♂️

Also, there is definitely a considered attempt to recreate Black Friday in other parts of the year – Amazon Prime Day anyone?

Bring back Boxing Day Sales, much simpler times!…

There is some real pushback on Black Friday. Many citing the mental health issues, as well as the environmental impact, attached to over consumption as reasons not to partake – I have to agree.

If you’re hunting for deals, fair enough. Just make sure it’s for something you need.

I mean… it is a bit daft…

Does Black Friday Work?

It seems so!

I’m a huge fan of a quantifiable facts and figures to back up my BS – so here you go:

  • UK Spending on Black Friday in 2016 was £1.23bn.

  • In 2015 – £1.1bn.

  • That’s an 11% increase!

  • In 2017, Currys PC World saw their highest volume of sales of televisions on Black Friday

  • And Argos had 13,496 shoppers visit their website EVERY MINUTE… (I’d love to see the sales figures!)

  • Marketing Week reckon 26% of shoppers plan to make a purchase on Black Friday this year,  up from 21% in 2018 and 19% in 2017.

  • Adobe reckon we all spend around £2000 each in the run up to Christmas.

Based on all this, it does sense for your business to take part in Black Friday.

Be warned though, your potential customer is looking for an outrageous deal. A deal so outrageous that it will be pretty tough for you to make money on, if any. The bargain hunters will get p*ssed off if your deal isn’t good enough – 20% ain’t that special, hun!

Retailers, consider this:

Can you afford to take a hit on your Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) to benefit from more customers long term?

Your Lifetime Customer Value (LTV) can tough to work out. Consider the value of repeat purchases as well as the value of Word of Mouth.

Word of mouth, by the way, these days could stretch to the size of your email list, social media mentions, as well as actual Word of Mouth too.

Something Sad About Black Friday

This one might just be a personal gripe, and hey, I’m willing to be wrong, I often am…

Let’s call it the Instagram age, the digital one-upmanship and comparing your mundane everyday life (everyone’s is!) to someone else’s highlight reel isn’t healthy, especially not around Black Friday.

I can see naive boyfriends up and down the country, stretching to buy some elaborate Xmas gifts they normally can’t quite afford, just so they can get in on the “boy did good” Instagram post.

Ahhhh, Capitalism.

Careful, lads. It will never end!*

Are You A Black Friday Brand?

I’m quite in awe of the guys who don’t do Black Friday.

It’s a great brand move.

Do you see Apple – the world’s most valuable company – all over Black Friday? No. Their Black Friday this year is incredibly mild. They’re only doing it becuase it would be too stupid not to.

That saud, this works both ways.

If you are a brand who should get into Black Friday, your loyal fans will patiently await your best offers. Treating these customers well = customers for life.

ASOS and Gymshark can probably take a hit on their CPA’s. They’ve also got the data to properly assess the LTV of each customer…

Can you compete on this scale?

So what?

If you clicked on this looking for a few good Black Friday deal, sozzzz. Please let me know if you find one that is too good to be true though 🙂

My plea is for you to think about whether Black Friday actually works for your business. Please, for God’s sake, don’t do Black Friday, just because you feel like you need to.

And if you do it next year, can you plan WELL in advance, please? Cheers.

If you need help working out what Cost Per Acquisition you can stomach – that’s why we exist! Hit us up.

I’ll leave you with this ABSOLUTE BEAUTY. As I was looking Black Friday stuff for this blog, I was reminded of this classic from everyone’s favourite Rebecca…

Can you believe that was out in 2011?! I’d have said earlier!

*my mrs loves me, I promise.

Guy Kingsley-Smith

Guy Kingsley-Smith

Guy Kingsley Smith is a Coffee Drinking, Pub Quizzing, Terrier Walking, Egg Chasing, Book Reading, Sales & Marketing Guy. Be Found Be Chosen's Second Best Beard. Once described as a professional flirt ?

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