For the past two years, we’ve commented on Black Friday, listing some of the more notable ‘deals’ available, as well as helping give advice on how businesses can prepare for the phenomenon. Originating in the USA, ‘Black Friday’ is the first Friday after Thanksgiving and earned its name as it described the day retailers would commonly “move into the black” – meaning they can cover their costs and become profitable. It has blossomed into a genuine shopping phenomenon, with eager shoppers on standby to snap up the best deals in preparation for Christmas and the year ahead. In fact, according to Business Insider, on average, shoppers spend over £500 billion through November and December, accounting for as much as 30 percent of annual sales for many retailers. But, recent reports are warning shoppers to be wary and see through the hype this year. The 29th November 2019 may not be the best day to splurge.

Only 5% of Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals offer better value:

Consumer group Which? took a range of 83 products, and tracked their pricing to analyse the value of ‘Black Friday’ deal prices, and their findings revealed that only 4 of the 83 products (roughly 5%) were actually cheaper on Black Friday. Retailers who usually dominate the Black Friday headlines, including John Lewis, Currys PC World and online goliath Amazon were amongst the comparison group, and the consumer group found all of them had offered better deals on certain products earlier in the year and for significant time frames.

Natalie Hitchins, Head of Home Products & Services at Which?, said: “We have repeatedly shown that ‘deals’ touted by retailers on Black Friday are not as good as they seem. Time-limited sales can be a good opportunity to bag a bargain, but don’t fall for the pressure tactics around Black Friday”

Time pressure is one of the key factors with Black Friday & Cyber Monday – and although 2018 seemed to see a marked shift towards staggered discounts and daily deals across a hype-fuelled two-to-three week period, 2019 seems to have reverted to more of a one-off day of deals. Despite the questions raised around the actual economic benefits of the event for consumers, we’ve been particularly impressed with some of the campaigns this year.

Black Friday Pressure:

Of particular note, companies like Gymshark have taken it upon themselves to rebrand the event to ‘Blackout Friday’, a keen play on the fact that, historically, Black Friday web traffic has crashed e-commerce retailers’ websites (including their own). In fact, at 7pm on the Monday of Black Friday week, their site was already experiencing the ‘Blackout’:

Gymshark Blackout Campaign Black Friday 2019

 

To try to placate the negativity surrounding the inevitable platform crash, Gymshark’s marketing collateral pre-warned of this, embracing it, and has featured their athletes fighting over the products rather than just modelling them, accompanied by the strapline: “This is anyone’s game”. Delivering this holistically across digital marketing channels including email and social media, drove awareness across a range of touch points, with highly engaging and sharable content to help organically amplify the hype.

This approach of almost gamifying the event, amplifying it to the point where shoppers are trained to experience genuine FOMO if they aren’t rapidly refreshing their browsers and knabbing the offers on the day is a fantastic tactic to breathe new life into the event which, as reports such as Which?’s show, is perhaps losing it’s sheen with more savvy shoppers.

However, as impressive as this particular campaign and tactic has been, it is still important to see through this hype, and to check for genuine deals.

Don’t believe the hype:

Among the so-called “Black Friday deals” that Which? uncovered was a Samsung HW-MS650 sound-bar selling for £299 at Currys PC World on Black Friday – “Within a month the price dropped by £49 for at least five days. What’s more, it was £279.97 at least 13 times in the six months after Black Friday,” said Which?. In addition, one of the most popular purchases of 2018, the Amazon Echo was on offer for £54.99 on Black Friday last year – which Amazon claimed was a saving of 39% – but it had actually been cheaper on at least 13 days before then. Which?’s report cites numerous examples like this. Hitchins concluded: “Our investigation indicates that this popular shopping event is all hype and there are few genuine discounts.”

Top 5 tips for bagging a genuine deal this Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

  1. Check the price of the product across multiple retailers (MoneySavingExpert offer price alerts).
  2. Check the history of the price.
  3. Read the small print on price comparison signage.
  4. Check against the RRP / SRP.
  5. Be wary of RRP comparisons and ‘was’ prices.

Most of all – be savvy, shoppers. 

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At Wonderful, we recommend a measured and strategic approach to these types of seasonal digital marketing campaigns; ensuring the goals of the brand are met with a campaign that contributes to wider digital marketing efforts, rather than working separately from them. Are you looking to capitalise on the momentum created by Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2019? Do you need some help, guidance and insight-driven experience in creating a campaign to drive business during the busiest retail period of the year? Feel free to give us a call on 01622 686228 or email [email protected] to see how you can capitalise on these opportunities for your business. 

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