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Black Friday; the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Keep it digital

Black Friday – some brands prosper, for others it’s nothing more than your typical 5th day of the week, and for a select few it’s an embarrassing disappointment. How do some get it so right, and some so wrong? Black Friday 2016 saw an overwhelming £1.23bn worth of online sales in the UK alone. This marks a 12.2% increase on the £1.1bn spent online in 2015. This year the total online spend in the UK is expected to reach £1.15bn.

Furthermore, it’s expected high-converting mobile websites will drive more retail revenue than desktop. Last year 51% of Black Friday sales were made via mobile.

With such a large percentage of the spend coming from online sales, brands simply cannot afford to spend too much time or money on creating the perfect in-store holiday campaign. The digital shift isn’t shifting back anytime soon. With the stress of lengthy queues and shop floor battles, can you really blame these inter-web loving consumers? Better get optimising that e-store if you want to see the big bucks.

Be bold

Black Friday isn’t your usual sales day. You’re going to be shouting in a room full of a million other voices, no matter where you turn to promote your bargains. The only way you’ll cut through is with a different kind of noise. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. After all, if you’re gaining a good amount of brand awareness, you don’t necessarily need to worry about going in for a hard-sell right from the word go.

Sometimes you don’t even need to offer a decent deal as Cards Against Humanity proved last year by asking for $5 more for their product.

Yes – you read that correctly. There’s no better way to maximise your profits on Black Friday than to simply ask your customers to pay more for your product then usual. The project, called the ‘Holiday Hole’, saw consumers contributing more than $100,000 towards digging costs with an online stream broadcasting the project.

“You’re supposed to think it’s funny,” said organisers. “You might not get it for a while, but some time next year you’ll chuckle quietly to yourself.”

Sometimes all you need to do is get people talking.

REI go as far as to close on Black Friday. They claim they refuse to follow the crowd and bow down to the pressure placed on brands to participate in flash-sales during the holiday. Instead, last year they opted to close shop, and this year they’ll be doing the same. As an outdoor retail brand it should come as no surprise that they’re also encouraging customers to head outside on an adventure whilst everyone else is running around like a headless chicken desperately trying to get a half price toaster.

When It Goes Wrong

When it comes to fast food advertising McDonald’s are the kings of marketing. But that doesn’t always mean they get it right. They caused quite a stir on social media this year when they tweeted: “Black Friday **** Need copy and link****” from their McDonald’s Corp account. Unbelievably it appears a member of their social media team tweeted a draft which needed approval.

But did they really get it wrong? Currently the tweet has been re-tweeted 10,000 times and at first glance looks like a genuine mistake. However, it could have been an ingenious ploy to drive discussion about McDonald’s on a Friday, when takeaway food is the most popular dinner option. The McDonald’s Corp account then made a joke about it by replying “When you tweet before your first cup of McCafé… Nothing comes before coffee.” Which makes it even more intriguing, especially as the response was tweeted 48 minutes after the original. They may have done this on purpose but either way no doubt McDonald’s will see a surge of customers treating themselves to a burger this Friday.

Micro is the new macro

Micro-influencers seem to be all the rage at the moment, and for good reason too. Whilst a million followers may look way more attractive than 50,000, studies have shown that influencers with follower counts in the thousands will typically boast engagement rates of around 8%, however many over the million mark are closer to 2%. So whilst you won’t be getting the crazy interaction level you’d receive from an A-list social media star, you’ll be paying a lot less and actually seeing a lot more for your money.

Furthermore, can you guarantee that the majority of an influencer’s 1 million followers are interested in what you’re selling? A micro-influencer with a smaller and more niche audience are far more likely to be promoting you to people who are actually going to care. Just some food for thought, that you should definitely eat.

So there you have it. Stick to the online world, take a risk and don’t concentrate solely on the big boys and you should be well on your way to winning Black Friday 2017. Good luck.