Black Friday, a retail phenomenon that originated to get rid of the remaining stock but has spread globally, is a day known for the most aggressive promotions online and in-store.
As 2023's event draws near, the question arises: will the opportunities outweigh the challenges? Let's look at the pros and cons of participating, and learn more about emerging consumer-centric shopping trends.
1. 👍 Pros of Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Black Friday can result in a significant boost in sales as consumers are motivated to make purchases because of attractive discounts and promotions.
Consumers in the UK alone during the 2022 Black Friday were found to have spent a total of £8.71 billion, of which £4.81 billion has been spent online.
The event facilitates brands in moving older stock, ensuring that they have space for new products or collections.
With consumers constantly hunting for the best Black Friday offers, brands stand a chance to attract and retain new customers, expanding their market presence.
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Participating in Black Friday promotions can increase a brand's awareness, both in physical stores and online. Offering discounts and exclusive deals to existing customers can enhance brand loyalty and encourage repeat business.
In this guide, we outline daily steps for success during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period.
2. 👍 Cons of Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Brands may feel pressured to offer deep discounts, which can reduce profit margins and affect overall profitability.
In 2022, Adobe highlighted that discounts reached an unprecedented peak, averaging 25% off on Cyber Monday's marked prices. Certain sectors experienced even bigger reductions, with toys at 34% off, computers at 20%, and apparel at 18%.
Managing increased demand, inventory, and shipping logistics during Black Friday can be challenging and may lead to operational issues.
If a brand faces logistical issues, stock shortages, or customer dissatisfaction during Black Friday, it can result in negative publicity and damage to its reputation.
For instance, the cost of shipping significantly impacts shoppers' choices. A 2022 Financesonline survey revealed that 49% of Black Friday shoppers were mainly driven by shipping costs. The appeal of free shipping emphasises the need for clear and transparent shipping policies.
We understand the challenges and stress of the peak shopping period, so we've crafted five logistics survival tips just for you.
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Overly aggressive sales tactics or discounting too deeply can potentially devalue a brand and erode its premium image. Black Friday's emphasis on consumption and fast fashion can be at odds with sustainability goals, which may not align with a brand's values.
Once a brand participates in Black Friday, customers may come to expect discounts every year, potentially affecting regular pricing strategies.
Increased sales during Black Friday may also result in higher return rates, which can be costly and time-consuming for brands to process.
True Fit's recent survey of 1,000 UK consumers showed that while shoppers will return nearly a sixth of Black Friday fashion buys, Gen Z will lead in return rates.
3. Buy Nothing Day: An Alternative Perspective
It's essential to acknowledge an alternative viewpoint.
Some individuals and organisations actively oppose Black Friday and instead promote “Buy Nothing Day” as a form of protest against consumerism.
Buy Nothing Day encourages people to abstain from shopping on Black Friday and reflect on the environmental and ethical implications of mass consumption. It highlights the broader societal debate surrounding Black Friday.
Brands like the outdoor clothing designer Patagonia have sought to redefine Black Friday's significance. Their 2016 pledge to direct all Black Friday profits towards environmental causes exemplified this shift.
Over $10 million was donated to grassroots organisations dedicated to preserving essential natural resources such as water, air, and soil.
The company also contributes to the “1% for the planet” initiative, dedicating 1% of its yearly sales to environmental non-profits. This commitment has led to donations exceeding $74 million since 1985, directly benefiting community-based organisations.
Since 2015, the outdoor recreation brand REI has boycotted Black Friday. They instead encourage all people to delay their holiday shopping and instead spend time outdoors, preferably with loved ones, through their #OptOuside campaign.
The Co-op closes its brick-and-mortar shop and doesn't process online orders, but still pays all its employees for their time.
4. Green Friday: A Sustainable Alternative
In recent years, there has been a growing movement towards “Green Friday” as a more sustainable alternative to Black Friday.
Some brands are embracing this concept by focusing on responsible consumption and environmentally-friendly practices.
Green Friday encourages brands to promote sustainable products and ethical production methods. It aligns with the values of eco-conscious consumers and provides brands with an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.
Teemill, a sustainable print-on-demand company, collaborates with its network of 10,000 stores for a unique initiative.
They encourage customers to return their worn Teemill-made clothing.
Under their #TakeBackFriday campaign, these returned clothes are repurposed into new items using their Remill technology. For every garment returned, customers receive a £5 credit for future shopping.
For Green Friday, the beauty brand Rituals is shifting its focus from general product discounts to special deals specifically on its sustainable product range.
Rituals emphasises, “We think it is important that you feel good and that we take care of the planet at the same time. This way, you not only save on packaging, but also keep money in your wallet”.
Black Friday can provide brands with numerous advantages, such as increased sales and customer acquisition, but it also comes with challenges like maintaining brand image and managing logistics effectively.
If you decide to participate, carefully consider your Black Friday strategies to strike a balance between profitability and maintaining a positive brand reputation.