It used to be that Black Friday was exclusive to the US, but in recent years, it’s taken the world by storm. Even in the UK, shoppers vehemently compete with each other on the Friday after Thanksgiving (27th November 2015) for deals on electronics, toys, and anything else that represents a “discount!”
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now the two biggest shopping days of the year for UK retailers, according to IBM, with promotions driving sales up by 31.6 percent in 2014, compared to the year earlier.
In 2015, the press are already forecasting a record £1bn day at the shops: http://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/611746/UK-Black-Friday-2015-Britain-first-ever-1bn-shopping-day
The phenomenon is not just confined to English speaking nations either. Germany has the “black weekend” and France also naming the same time period as “Black Friday” rather than “Vendredi Noir” – you can see the consumer frenzy around the last pay day weekend before Christmas. The reach is seen all the way to the Asian continent, with deals popping up across Chinese retail websites too!
If you’re a smart marketer and looking to milk the, admittedly American, holidays for all that they’re worth, read on.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday Origins
Traditionally, Black Friday meant that deals were in stores, and on Cyber Monday – three days after Black Friday – the deals moved online.
Black Friday began in 1961 and lands on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
Curious about the name? It has to do with profits – retailers generally operate at a loss (“in the red”) from January through November, and Black Friday signifies the day when they begin making a profit and get “in the black”.
Now, the definition is much looser – retailers often begin to offer online deals starting on Black Friday, and these can even deals last for multiple days with some retailers.
Both of the holidays are collectively massive – the 4-day weekend resulted in $50.9 billion spent in the US alone. Yes, that means that assuming there are 300 million people in the US, every single person spent almost $170.
And that’s just the US…
Start incredibly early or you’ll get washed away
Given the stampedes for cheap TV’s, you can be forgiven for thinking that preparation for Black Friday is one of body armour and helmets, but commercially one of the biggest mistakes that companies make is waiting for Black Friday to approach before the marketing begins.
Some retailers already have a countdown page:
The longer you wait, the more and more expensive your marketing is going to be. Keep in mind that you are competing hard for consumers’ cash so you must reach your audience before they do… by starting earlier.
Of course, make sure to capture the prospect in some way – email subscriptions and social followings work very well. If you can capture the prospect early, you can drastically cut down on your marketing costs for the weekend itself because you can market to your prospects for free.
Get yourself on every “deal” site possible – internationally
Lots of shoppers will go straight to Amazon or another online retailer to find deals – but the really savvy shoppers are going to deal sites. There, they’ll be presented with all of the best deals, and they won’t have to sift through all of the mediocre sales out there.
You can get yourself on deal sites with a bit of manual labour – or, you can hire someone to do it for you. By posting on a wide range of sites, you’ll drive as much referral traffic to your Black Friday sales as you possibly can – and because everyone is already in “buying mode”, that’s often all you need.
Go all out on the weekend itself
Some companies continue their ordinary marketing efforts on the Black Friday weekend…
…and to us, that’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
If you’re doing a Black Friday campaign, you need to have two budgets – one for pre-promotion, and one to actually get people onto your website when the holiday rolls around.
Your budget for attracting legitimate traffic on the day should be bigger – all advertising is expensive on Black Friday. But at the same time, conversions are through the roof, and as we mentioned, the average sale is much higher – your increased budget will pay off.
Just make sure that you do increase the budget as there will be an upturn in traffic – if you don’t, you’ll find that your ordinary budget doesn’t go very far.
Expand your reach to an international audience – they’re searching, too!
From the stampede videos on YouTube it looks like everyone knows about Black Friday. And everyone is looking at retailers and manufacturers when the day rolls around to try and snag a deal.
Try branching out to countries further east, or even the UK itself. (Just make sure you have correctly-translated material before you do, or else your expensive advertising pounds will go to waste. Bubbles Translation Services can help you attack foreign markets.)
Offer a deal that’s too good to miss
Sadly, 10% off isn’t going to cut it. This isn’t an ordinary sale – this is Black Friday.
Your potential customers should be saying…
“Wow – how is this so cheap? Let’s get it now.”
If it’s anything less than that reaction, the prospect moves away from you and onto the genuine Black Friday sales – although we are conscious that these “discounts” are often on products that are overpriced to begin with!
Ensure that you know the legalities of discounting in each country too.
Rules in the UK state that the non-discount price should be the amount a product was sold at for 28 consecutive days immediately prior to it going on offer, while a product should not ordinarily be on offer for longer than it was at the higher price.
Play within the rules and if you can’t offer a (legal) sale worth having, don’t market on Black Friday. You’re going to pay a fortune, and if you don’t have the deals to convert those product-hungry visitors into revenue, you’re going to lose that fortune completely.
Start early with your advertising. Get on deal sites so that your sales get posted. Advertise to an international audience. Go all-out on the 4-day weekend with your marketing efforts, and make sure that you have a buy-worthy deal before you even begin.
If you choose to advertise to an international audience, you’ll need translated material. Contact Bubbles Translation Services today to get your material translated well before Black Friday rolls around.