Hands up if you love a bargain! That’s right. Most of us do. And no bargain hunter can fail to be aware of the biggest dates in the shopping calendar: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Unless you’re somewhere off-grid, you’re probably already aware of Black Friday which hits the UK on 29th November, closely followed by Cyber Monday on 2nd December.
This holiday shopping period is a savvy buyer’s dream and, with the right preparation, a great opportunity for many types of businesses. Black Friday may be an American tradition but it’s big in the UK now. According to online retailer Amazon, its UK customers purchased over 2 million items on the site on the day of Black Friday, saving themselves more than £40 million!
How Did It All Start?
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are well and truly established these days as shopaholics’ dream dates but how did they come about in the first place? The tradition of Black Friday hails from the US and is thought to be connected with Thanksgiving - the theory being that brick and mortar retailers didn’t start promoting their bargains until after the Thanksgiving holiday season, the Black Friday period.
One story about the origin of the name “Black Friday” is that retailers marked the high number of receipts gained the day after Thanksgiving, when many shoppers bought discounted goods, as being “in the black”.
Another theory is the name came about in 1960s Philadelphia, to refer to the day on which the traditional and highly popular Army-Navy football game takes place in the city. It always attracted many visitors which was very positive for retailers but not so good for the taxi drivers and police officers – or anyone else who needed to get on with their jobs in Philly.
These were the people said to have given the day the name "Black Friday". Many of the local companies disliked the name and attempted to change it to "Big Friday" but somehow it never took off. While we’ll probably never know exactly how the name Black Friday came about, we do know who brought it to the UK. Apparently, it was Amazon in 2010!
What About Cyber Monday Sales?
Let’s not forget this year’s Cyber Monday sales. It may sound like the quieter younger sibling of Black Friday, but it certainly packs a cash-generating punch for businesses around the world. This is the name for the day which traditionally marks the sales which follow Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
The phrase 'Cyber Monday' was first coined by a retail leader who saw a distinct increase in online shopping and sales on that date. As the name suggests, it’s all about grabbing online bargains at the lowest price and, judging by the figures, it’s becoming as massive as Black Friday. It’s certainly more true in the UK than in previous years.
However, as the name doesn’t suggest, Cyber Monday is also said to be a great day to pick up discounted clothing, whether you’re after a new winter coat or some snazzy new jeans. This is because many companies are anticipated to provide discounts throughout their website rather than just on selected items.
Cyber Monday deals are also said to be better than Black Friday sales for buying small products. However, if you do spot great deals on Black Friday, it makes sense to grab them while you can!
Our advice for those looking to save money while they spend this year? Plan carefully and do your research. There’s plenty of information online about which companies are launching their deals and when.
Changing the Way We Shop - and Sell
New research from Adobe has found that UK consumers are expected to spend over £2,000 each in the run-up to Christmas! And much of this takes place in November, thanks to Black Friday.
This is a sure sign Black Friday and Cyber Monday are changing the way we shop - and the way that businesses present discounts, bargains and other buying opportunities.
Businesses have embraced the annual extravaganza to offer all kinds of deals. Retailers around the world haven’t limited themselves to just the traditional Black Friday date, often making the most of it as an opportunity for an extended sales period. In fact, some think the name should change to Black November, thanks to so many retailers extending their sales period throughout the month.
Integrated carefully within the sales and marketing calendar, Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be a powerful sales opportunity for many types of businesses.
Good News for Business
Still not sure if you believe in Black Friday as a business opportunity? The figures speak for themselves, showing the day is great news for businesses as well as buyers. In 2018, purchases on Black Friday and Cyber Monday generated cash of £7billion – much of which was online! Not only that, but in 2018, online sales had reached a 46% YoY increase - by 4 pm!
It’s the time of year when people are primed to pick up bargains. They may have put off making a big purchase until they see what’s on offer. And don’t dismiss your business offering as not appropriate for bargain hunters.
Just a quick look online reveals an incredible array of products and services already featured in the build-up to the day itself. It could be big-ticket items like flights, TVs, bikes, computers, cosmetics, computer games, gadgets – anything really!
So, if you’d like more business, it’s wise to be prepared and get a little creative in your approach to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be great news for most businesses, it does bring challenges too. It’s great to have lots of extra customers in your stores or on your website. But you may find you need extra back-up for taking orders or dealing with enquiries.
Not being prepared for a high volume of orders could actually lead to you losing out on Black Friday, without the right amount of preparation. Don’t think of Black Friday or Cyber Monday as a quick sales fix. Look at them as an opportunity to engage potential customers and encourage them to look again at your products if their budget has put them off in the past.
You might be wondering whether such a focus on a relatively short period of time is worthwhile for your business. But even one big sale could help to create some repeat business in the future. Or promoting yourself during this period might make someone more aware of and invested in your brand. With so much general awareness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, even a slightly more creative approach in your marketing during this time could win you the interest of some great new customers.
The reality is, with the right approach and preparation, Black Friday could gain more attention and sales for your business. And that is a big deal.