10 Black Friday Marketing Tips: What You Need to Know This Year

4 Minute Read

Somehow, it’s November. The days are colder and the high street Christmas lights are already twinkling to mark the start of the holiday season. Yep, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a matter of weeks away, and if you’re not already busily preparing your marketing efforts then you really should start.

This year’s events promise to offer big opportunities, but it’s important to learn from the key takeaways of last year, as well as to be in the know about what will be different this year.

To save any potential headaches, we’ve put together a list for what you need to know.

1. Black Friday is more lucrative than ever for online stores

Black Friday seems to get an increasingly bad rep each year; accused of promoting mass consumerism, impulse buying and, in extreme cases, in-store brawls! But shoppers aren’t turning away – in fact, digital sales in the USA increased by 16.9% last year, with a record $5 billion spent in 24 hours. In the UK, £1.4bn was spent online last Black Friday, 11.7% more than in 2016. The opportunity is huge for merchants as consumers flood online to seeking deals. For Very.co.uk, a whopping 18% of last year’s total ecommerce sales came from Black Friday.

black friday rei

2. …but some are dropping out

Of course, it’s worth considering whether your shoppers and target audience will want or expect you to take part, and whether the event jeopardises any of your brand values. Luxury brands, for example, who rely on a reputation for superior quality and thus expensive prices might not benefit from the event. For various reasons, we find retailers drop out of Black Friday every year, with some choosing not to trade at all on the big day. B&Q is the latest retailer to announce it will not be taking part, choosing instead to stick with its ‘everyday low price model’.

3. It’s taking up more time than ever before

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday week will take up more time than ever this year. Long gone are the times Black Friday was, literally, just one day of deals. Now, the expectation is several days up to and after Cyber Monday, and in some cases longer than a week. Amazon has announced more Black Friday deals than ever before, which will run from November 16th right through to November 25th. That’s 9 days!

black friday social deals

4. Shoppers love sharing Black Friday deals on social

If you’re taking part this year, be sure to use social to promote your deals throughout your sale. It’s the time of year consumers are most likely to share information about deals with their friends, and many will use social to search for deal. In fact, a third of retailers said social was their preferred way to announce deals.

marketing leak black friday

5. Some brands are leaking deals

Retailers know full well that consumers are already thinking about Black Friday. Many shoppers have planned items to purchase and will buy certain Christmas presents in the sales. And of course, many will browse and impulse buy, too. Several retailers are ‘leaking’ deals already, letting shoppers know some of the bargains they can expect to ensure they hit their stores when the deals begin. If you’re planning your own ‘leak’ consider social media, influencers and PR.

6. Cart abandonment soars on Black Friday

This is something to watch out for. Cart abandonment reached a whopping 74.5% in the US last year as shoppers hesitated to purchase in case they missed a better deal elsewhere. The best thing you can do here is set up urgency messaging, with scarcity updates to let shoppers know how much stock is left. You can also show the popularity of products in real time (this can all easily be set up with Bunting!).

email black friday tui

7. Email isn’t going anywhere

As for marketing tactics, email was more popular than ever for promoting deals last year. There was an 11% increase in total volume of emails sent on Black Friday from the previous year, and Shopify reported email had the highest conversion rate of all marketing tactics at 4.29%. However, subject lines and creativity go a long way, as people’s inboxes become clogged with promotions. But with this being the year of GDPR, your emails should only go out to those who want to receive them (in the EU, at least).

influencer youtube black friday

8. Influencer marketing will play a bigger role

Cutting through the noise is half the battle on Black Friday with everyone competing for consumers’ attention. With this in mind, brands are looking more to influencers to produce engaging content to promote their sales. For cost-effectiveness, look for microinfluencers who can review your products and find ways to make your content shareable – be creative, and don’t be afraid to add humour.

9. Personalization matters

Regardless of the marketing tactics you use, personalized messaging work better and will help cut through the noise. Present shoppers with deals relevant to their interests in real time and make sure these products take centre stage when they land on your site. Use product recommendations to help shoppers find relevant alternatives.

free gift clarins black friday

10. Shoppers want free gifts

The best bit about Black Friday for some of us is getting a free gift after making a purchase from your favourite store. Offering freebies is a great way to help shoppers convert, as while they might get a cheaper product elsewhere, they won’t get the same gift elsewhere. Clarins gave away a generous 6 free samples to shoppers last year which, for many, would mean Christmas had come early! Importantly though, a free gift needs to be relevant to a person’s interests – so why not offer a choice?


The Black Friday and Cyber Monday week promises to be busier than ever this year, and you’ll need to be super prepared to schedule your marketing activities throughout the event to guarantee you maximise the traffic and orders available to you.

And if you need some help optimising and personalising your store, get in touch with us at Bunting!

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