November 25th. Also known as Black Friday. The day that all brand marketers, copywriters and advertisers love. People are so willing to part with their cash on this day, and on Cyber Monday, that barely any marketing has to be done. Just slap a cut-down price tag on a big ticket item and watch as it flies off the shelf.
Research from Gocompare.com has found that an estimated £4.9 billion is going to be spent this Friday, just two short days away… that’s the equivalent of £175 per household in the UK. But what are people planning on buying? Clothing and accessories, toys and games, health and beauty products, small electrical appliances and new laptops are heading up the list… great news if that’s what you specialise in. Even better news if you can attract the seven per cent of Brits who say they plan to spend more than £500 over Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the hunt for bargains.
And yet another Black Friday study, this time from TopCashback.co.uk, has found that men look set to be the big spenders this year. According to the cashback shopping site, men intend to spend £550.97, while women will be splashing out a paltry £325.89 in comparison. And what items do both sexes plan on buying? Men will be hunting out clothes, TVs, laptops, new phones and tablets or iPads, while women will be looking out for clothes, beauty products, toys, tablets and iPads, and laptops.
What could be better for brands around the world than a bunch of hungry consumers eagerly waiting to part with their cash? But before you get giddy and start cutting your prices to bring people through the doors, sit down for a second and think… what kind of impression do you want to give your customers, past, present and future? What kind of brand are you and what are your brand values? If they don’t tie in with the frenzy of Black Friday, you might be better served by avoiding it altogether.
We all remember scenes from last year with people scrapping on retail shop floors, people ripping TVs out of each other’s hands, people even grabbing things out of the arms of tiny little children. Is this what you want your brand to be aligned with? It could end up having the opposite effect. Yes, you might make a bit of cash, but people will more likely remember the scenes of bedlam and mayhem at your store than they will the fact that you reduced the price of a TV by ten per cent in the long run.
And it seems as though consumers might well start getting wise to the Black Friday ruse themselves. A new Which? investigation has just revealed that 49 per cent of the so-called special Black Friday deals from retailers were actually cheaper on a day other than November 25th itself. And in fact, just eight per cent of the deals the team looked at were one day only offers where Black Friday was cheaper than any other day in the three months before and two months after Black Friday 2015. And yet 92 per cent of shoppers surveyed in August this year said they thought they’d got a good deal on their purchases. It doesn’t quite add up.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are both hard work. You have to put up with people queuing in their droves outside your store. You have to spend hours putting all the deals out at the start of the day. And then you have to sort out what could be an unholy mess at the end. And put up with people fighting over products and trashing your shop… for what could actually end up giving your company a bad reputation anyway.
A better marketing strategy might be to adopt an anti-Black Friday stance. Put a shout out on your blog and social media sites inviting people to come to your shop for a cup of coffee and a chat instead. Or if you can’t bear not to be involved in the Black Friday madness, perhaps offer to donate the difference in price on some of your Black Friday deals to a local charity relevant to what it is you do, or related to the product in question. Instead of holding a free for all, make November 25th a more inspiring day, one that isn’t so blatantly about flagrant consumerism and one that shows your brand off in a really positive light.