Things to be aware of this Black Friday

Published on November 3, 2022 by Alex Eade

And just like that, Halloween is a thing of the past and the festive season is fast approaching (we can already hear Mariah Carey singing away…). Over the past few years, Black Friday has become a seriously important day in the marketing calendar as spending across the Black Friday weekend (including Cyber Monday) in 2020 brought in £4.8 billion and in 2021 the figure was an astounding £6 billion. Black Friday is big news, so here are some of the things we think you should keep in mind during the lead up to the big day. 


Plan Ahead

By now, if you are participating in Black Friday you should be putting the finishing touches to your plan, including which products will be going on sale, what your discount structure will look like, and how you will deal with an increase in sales/ customer comms.

As well as the operational side of things, you need to be thinking about your marketing campaign.

  • Who are you targeting?
  • Which star products will feature most in your marketing?
  • Have you got the right photos and collateral for your website/email/social media? (and are these appropriately sized to minimise waste on your website?) 
  • Have you worked out what you are going to do with your paid media?
  • Are you going to switch out your evergreen website content for Black Friday content?

All of these questions and more need to be answered well in advance to ensure that the weekend goes smoothly – if you need any help with your marketing plan and you’re currently a client of ours, we suggest you reach out to your Relationship Manager now to get the ball rolling! (call our office number on 01206 899517). 


Royal Mail Strike

It’s very important that all businesses are aware that Royal Mail are planning two 48 hour strikes around the Black Friday period.

Walk outs are currently scheduled for November 24th and 25th (Thanksgiving and Black Friday) and then again on November 30th and December 1st.

If these strikes go ahead then any website using Royal Mail to deliver their goods could face delays in getting products out to customers.

It’s really important that you let customers know that there may be a delay but that you are doing everything to ensure they receive their goods in a timely manner. Also, be aware that you may receive more messages on social media channels, live chat, or to your customer service team from customers asking if the strike will affect delivers so make sure that your team are prepped to deal with this. 


Will the cost of living crisis affect Black Friday?

Research suggests that whilst people are still intending to spend money on Black Friday, they are reigning it in this year.

Finder research indicates that people will spend around 31% less in 2022 than they did in 2021 (around £190 instead of £270). For marketers, this means that you need to be savvier in who you are targeting and how – make sure that you have your target market front and centre to ensure that they spend with you rather than with a competitor.

Also, make sure that you do your competitor research fully throughout the period to ensure that your deals are right for the consumer. 


Ethical Sales

As we all try to do better for the environment, one big question that you should ask yourself before Black Friday is…what will the environmental impact be? A quick Google search can highlight the scary statistics attached to Black Friday including: 

  • In 2020, UK online Black Friday shopping accounted for 429,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • In 2019 it was found that around 80% of Black Friday items are thrown away or never used again after a single use. 

The general status quo of Black Friday is to encourage people to buy as quickly as they can because the deals are around for a really short time. This creates a shopping frenzy, and often means that people impulse buy things that they don’t really need or want. This overconsumption is unsustainable, it creates waste, and can create problems for companies as a greater percentage of people ask for refunds when they’ve cooled off and thought about what they’ve spent. 

Some companies are now bucking the Black Friday trend and according to the Guardian, in 2021 around 85% of independent businesses chose not to participate in the event, with some even closing their websites in protest. Shoe brand Allbirds actually raised the price of their items by $1 in the US last year, and donated the extra funds that this raised to Greta Thunberg’s charity, Fridays for Future. 

Larger companies are now choosing to do the same to appeal to ethical consumers (and, hopefully just because they want to protect the planet). These include Monki who have not participated in Black Friday since 2019, vegan shoe brand Veja, and clothing brand ME + EM who stated “The fashion world loves black. Ironically, we don’t love Black Friday…We’re not ones for fast fashion. We don’t rush when it comes to making our clothes, so we don’t want you to rush when it comes to shopping them.” 

Patagonia also famously ran an ad in the New York Times on Black Friday, telling their consumers not to buy their products. The ad read ‘don’t buy this jacket’. Their reasoning was that “It would be hypocritical for us to work for environmental change without encouraging customers to think before they buy. To reduce environmental damage, we all have to reduce consumption as well as make products in more environmentally sensitive, less harmful ways.”

Other brands are still giving their customers the ability to save, but they are not adopting scarcity tactics to force fast decisions. These include cosmetics and skincare brand The Ordinary (owned by DECIEM) whose campaign this year is ‘Slowvember’. They are encouraging their customers to ‘walk, don’t run’ and are using the Call to Action ‘Shop Slowly’ as for the whole of November all of their products will be 23% off. This gives people lots of time to think carefully about which products they actually need, rather than rushing a purchase. 

Clearly, there are changes afoot in the way that Black Friday works.

Whilst it is still an incredibly important time to get your message out there and communicate with your customers (whilst fighting through the noise created by the competition) it is also so important to be mindful of the impact that your business has, both on the environment and on the wallets of those in a cost of living crisis. Now is the time to be creative, thoughtful, and to really engage with what your customers want from you. Don’t forget, if you need our help with marketing campaigns, paid ads, SEO or other marketing activities this month, give your Relationship manager a call and we’ll be more than happy to help!