Black Friday meant something different altogether in Britain just a few short years ago. Rather than the scramble for pre-Christmas bargains that will be taking place online and on the high street today, it was the scrum at the bar for those precious post-work beers. Black Friday, or Mad Friday, was the night out with colleagues on the last Friday before Christmas.


But like Halloween has been challenging the popularity of Bonfire Night, another import from across the Pond has come to work its way into our Christmas traditions. Americans today are bathed in the glow of post-Thanksgiving bliss and getting ready to hit the stores, both online and offline, on the day that officially unleashes the seasonal shopping frenzy. In Britain, we’ll be doing the same.

We’ve only been doing this since 2013 though (thanks, Walmart!), and although the sales volume grows year on year, we don’t seem to have the hang of it. Is it online or on the high street? How long does it last for (I’ve seen posters advertising Black Friday Week or Weekend deals)? Are you really getting a good deal?

In the UK, our winter sales take place after Christmas, with retailers throwing open the doors from cockcrow on Boxing Day morning. This fits nicely – it’s a public holiday. A lot of people will be off work in America today, so the Black Friday concept there (always the day after Thanksgiving) makes sense.

For us Brits though, it is just plain old November 24. So, what can brands do to capitalize on this newfangled Christmas tradition?

  • A Black Friday bargain is for life…Folk are more willing to put up with poor service on big sales days, but it needn’t be so. Brands should see a customer isn’t just for Black Friday. This is a chance to give customers a positive experience and lasting impression of the brand, which will be remembered long after the bargain-triggered endorphin release has worn off…


  • Spread the joy - Why not give something more than a generous discount - is this a chance, especially online, to give out promotional codes to be used when the post-Christmas sales kick-off? Or how about recommend a friend promotions using social media?


  • Shy bairns get nowt (especially at Christmas)! Now is the time to ask for something back from those customers you’ve just given such treated to such generous discounts. Brand perception survey time (offer a carrot), or customer experience feedback can all be harvested now.

End note – it all looks like a garage sale compared to China’s big online shopping day on Nov 11, driven by the beast that is Alibaba! Take a look at the numbers here.


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