23 Inspirations for Black Friday Promotions
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the marketing crème de la crème of the season, increasing the heartbeat of any marketer. According to Adobe, across Cyber Week 2022, consumers spent a total of $35.3 billion in the US alone.
BFCM represents the biggest online sales of the year, but each business approaches the occasion differently. It’s not only a one-time opportunity to earn a lot of money but also to push brand awareness in new markets and audiences.
In Voucherify, we breathe sales promotions daily, so I used my expertise to list 23 creative promotion ideas for Black Friday and Cyber Monday that you can use in 2023.
What is Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
Each year, the biggest sales event occurs at the end of November (24th in 2023) – Black Friday. Cyber Monday comes the following Monday (27th in 2023) and is targeted at ecommerce and online sales.
The history of Black Friday is closely related to the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. Since the holiday is a day off, many Americans also take a day off on Friday, extending their weekend. Clever marketers saw it as an opportunity to encourage shopping and start the Christmas season early.
It’s the busiest time of the year. As the 2022 Shopify Black Friday report highlighted, Shopify merchants collectively made a whopping $7.5 billion USD in sales globally between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which marks a 19% increase from 2021’s $6.3 billion.
23 Promotion Ideas for your Best Black Friday yet
As the year's biggest sales event gains momentum in 2023, let’s check out my 23 examples of kick-ass BFCM sales promotions that will keep your numbers high.
1. Amount & percentage discounts with or without coupon codes
You can rarely go wrong with classics. On Black Friday, customers expect huge discounts – so instead of re-thinking the wheel, you can simply give customers what they want. But, your discounting strategy can be more fun than a plain BLACKFRIDAY23 code for all visitors (nothing wrong with that either). Consider adding variety by offering enticing cart-level promotions or exclusive coupon codes tailored to specific customer segments, elevating the excitement of your Black Friday deals.
Should I give an amount or percentage discount? The rule of 100 says that with prices below 100, it is better to use a percentage discount. On the other hand, for prices above 100, amount discounts work better.
Here are some ideas on how to add a bit of spice to your Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts with promotion gamification:
- Let customers win a discount in a draw by creating a spin-a-wheel widget on your site. The play-to-win gamification mechanisms work great in ecommerce, driving much higher engagement rates than site-wide sales promotions.
- Add a countdown timer next to your promotion message to increase urgency.
- If you are running Black Friday discounts offline, consider scratch cards with hidden deals that can be applied at the POS.
- If you are afraid your deal will get lost in the flood of Black Friday offers, you could create plenty of promo codes and share them via influencers. It will also help you reach customers who are not on a shopping spree (yet) but are just casually browsing social media.
2. Tiered discounts
Driving order sizes should be one of your key goals for this BFCM. Tiered discounts and promotions work like a charm for increasing AOVs. They also offset operational costs – fewer but bigger orders are less of a burden on your logistics.
You can differentiate the discount value based on the order total, creating a ladder-like campaign and offering different discounts based on the cart structure, customer segment, and other business-specific attributes.
3. Free gifts, samples, and shipping
You can offer a free product or service to every qualifying order (for example, an order above a minimum total). Bonus items work very well with luxury brands, where excessive discounting can damage the brand image, even on Black Friday.
Companies who tend not to discount their products can still offer incentives, such as free or international shipping (which tends to be expensive). Discounting international shipping or making it free of charge can help to bring new customers to your business.
Alternatively, you can offer free gift packing as a perk if you run a small business.
L'Occitane en Provence launched a Black Friday promotion offering a gift (Nature’s Present, $35 in value, mostly composed of sample-sized cosmetics and miniatures) for every purchase above $85.
This is a less common promotion type nowadays, as it is not personalized, and customers cannot choose what they are getting (they could if the promotion was offering a discount or a gift card), but it is a good way to advertise your products (customers who try them and like them may come back for full-sized ones).
4. Product bundles
Product bundles are product combinations sold together at a lower price. Businesses use this strategy to move unwanted stock or increase average order size (if minimum order totals are placed on the bundle). It is a good practice to restrict your return policy on bundled products, as some customers may abuse the promotion and return the free product to get a refund.
Make sure to follow these steps to succeed with your Black Friday/Cyber Monday bundles:
- Mixing an expensive product with a cheap one is inefficient. Try mixing similar-value products instead.
- Ensure to make the bundle conditions and their worth easy to understand.
- Remember that bundles that do not require applying a coupon code are easier to use.
- Make bundling optional – ensure that customers can also purchase individual products, whatever suits their needs.
- Suggest the missing products from the bundle with a prompt within the customer cart.
Orangewood has launched a Black Friday promotion offering a product bundle using a coupon code. To seize the deal, customers simply had to add an Orangewood Guitar, an Accessory Kit, and Ernie Ball strings to their cart, applying the coupon code Bundleup20. The sweet part? The Accessory Kit and Ernie Ball strings were complimentary, making them free of charge when the purchase met the promo's criteria.
5. Gift cards for purchases made on Black Friday
You don’t have to grant the discount on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. You can also postpone the discount application and gain returning visitors. How? By offering gift cards to all customers who purchased from you on Black Friday. For example, you could offer a 10% cashback on all orders made on Black Friday that can be used on future purchases (not on the same day) and expires in one month to ensure the repeat visit happens soon.
Gift cards make customers feel more special than discounts. With the endowment effect on your side, customers are much more likely to use the gift card credits for fear of missing out on the opportunity.
6. Double loyalty program points on Black Friday only
You could focus your Black Friday campaign on loyal customers by granting them double loyalty points on all Black Friday or Cyber Monday purchases. Offering double or extra loyalty points for the purchases made on Black Friday still gives something valuable to customers and brings repeat purchases without melting your budget.
You can consider running other special treats for loyal customers for BFCM – think of expedited free shipping or early access to BF deals or new products. Estee Lauder launched a Black Friday promotion offering double loyalty points for the loyalty club members and a limited edition product (lip gloss set) at a promotional fixed price.
7. Geotargeted campaigns for in-store purchases
Geofencing and geotargeting are no longer mysterious and expensive technologies available only to retail molochs. Thanks to the abundance of APIs, even smaller players can now afford a clever geotargeted campaign.
You could send offers targeted at those customers who happen to be close to your physical store location on Black Friday, or if you are feeling naughty, you could run a geoconquesting campaign where you capture your competitor’s traffic. You have a bigger chance to sell to these people, as they are in proximity and probably on a Black Friday shopping spree. You could also send them a unique coupon code expiring the same day to motivate them to visit your store.
8. Early-bird discounts ahead of Black Friday
BFCM are not limited to separate calendar days – currently, they mark a whole shopping season that starts as early as October and lasts till Christmas. Starting with your sales promotions early is one of the best ways to capture shoppers and stay competitive. You can send promo codes early in a targeted email campaign for Black Friday or run a deal-a-day campaign where you offer sales promotions every day leading up to the big day.
Another strategy is giving the loyalty club members access to the promotion code earlier than the standard members. This can motivate customers to join the loyalty club now or in the following years.
9. Live sales events during Black Friday
Black Friday is no longer a battle for the best deal. Now, it is a battleground for customer experience. If you already have a social media presence, you can use the new trends of live events and live shopping streamed via social media platforms. These events, often featuring influencer presenters showcasing products, create a buzz and drive demand.
As social media platforms pave the way for a new chapter in commerce – social commerce – seize the opportunity by hosting live shopping events for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. To enhance the impact, provide influencers with exclusive discount codes to promote during the event. This not only stimulates immediate purchases but also adds a sense of urgency in line with the spirit of these shopping extravaganzas. Consider incorporating referral codes as well to boost both short-term sales and long-term customer acquisition while elevating brand awareness.
10. BOGO on Black Friday
BOGO (Buy-One-Get-One) deals are among the most killer tactics for increasing AOVs during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. One of the most effective variations of this sales promotion is Buy One, Get Second 50% Off, which can substantially increase the AOV.
You can offer a site-wide BOGO deal, a special product BOGO deal, or a product bundle as your Black Friday special promotion. It is a great way to upsell your products. For example, if you were considering a discount ranging from 40-50%, you can offer a BOGO sale instead and sell much more than if you were simply offering a discount.
Need campaign examples? Victoria Emerson, an accessible luxurious jewelry brand, has launched a Black Friday BOGO sale targeted only VIP customers.
11. Partnership campaigns
You don’t have to do BFCM promotions alone, especially if you have a network of partners and affiliates that you can engage in your strategy. A simple way to go about partnership campaigns would be offering a discount for your partner’s services and vice versa, allowing you to expand into new markets and audiences. In addition, co-marketing opportunities resulting from such a campaign are invaluable for capturing new customers unaware of your business.
12. A deal-a-day campaigns starting ahead of Black Friday
You can start early or continue your BFCM campaign well after the big day. One way to keep things exciting long-term is to run a promotion where the discount type and value change daily.
A variation of this approach to BFCM promotions would be hourly flash sales. You could make your Black Friday promotion fun by launching a couple of flash sales, for example, changing which product is on discount every hour or alternating between discount types and values. Another idea is to offer gradually decreasing discounts, encouraging shoppers to purchase earlier rather than later.
13. Cart abandonment deals to decrease BF churn
Even huge discounts can’t always prevent customers from leaving your site too early. On average, 67% of customers abandon carts on ecommerce websites – this statistic looks even worse for Black Friday, with over 73% of orders dropped. So, you can potentially see a massive uplift in cart recovery rates by offering instant bonus discounts on dropped orders.
One of the best ideas to recover abandoned carts is to offer a discount, discounted product, or missing products from a bundle directly within the cart. You can do this with Voucherify Qualification API.
Learn more: 8 Cart Abandonment Promotions That Work in 2023
14. Charity campaigns
More and more companies are dropping the unsustainable Black Friday traditions in favor of But Nothing days and other charity-related activities.
For example, Allbirds, a New Zealand-American company that designs and sells sustainable footwear and apparel, has raised all prices by $1 and claimed they would contribute another $1 to make $2 donations for every product purchased on Black Friday.
15. Discount and a donation combination
Combining a charitable contribution with a discount can be a powerful strategy for engaging customers and making a positive impact.
Timberland, for instance, has embraced this approach in their Black Friday campaign. They not only offered a compelling 30% discount on selected products but also pledged a $1 donation for each ground shipping dedicated to tree planting initiatives. It's a thoughtful blend of savings and environmental responsibility, demonstrating how brands can align their promotions with meaningful causes during the holiday season.
16. Limited edition drops on Black Friday only
You can also boost your Black Friday and Cyber Monday buzz with exclusive limited edition drops. Create hype and scarcity by unveiling unique variations or brand-new creations available only during the BFCM promotion. Emphasize their special features to drive urgency, prompting customers to snag these exclusive items before they vanish. This type of promotion is perfect for luxury brands to maintain an exclusive image through strategic promotions.
Oceans Apart introduced a Black Friday Limited Edition collection featuring a mix of their popular items in new colors and fresh arrivals. Shoppers can enjoy discounts of up to 50% on these exclusive styles using the code BLACK.
17. Black Friday giveaways and sweepstakes
You can launch a giveaway where winners will be chosen randomly or an 'instant win' campaign where every X customer gets a prize. You can also make your sweepstake more gamified, introducing a 'scratch and reveal' campaign where your customers have to scratch a virtual card, and they get assigned (or not) a discount at random. This variation of sweepstakes will bring some thrill to your Black Friday campaigns
You can also run a Black Friday promotion on your social media, promoting your profile and incentivizing follows, shares, likes, and comments. For example, Kohl’s brilliantly created Black Friday social media campaigns to engage with customers. The company offered customers a gift card or sweepstakes entry in return for a response or retweet with their hashtag.
18. Cashback campaigns
Cashback lets customers spend and earn money back. For example, you can offer a 2% cashback on all qualifying purchases (e.g., minimum order total). It’s one of the most desired incentives, which is at the same time easy to manage for a business and simple to understand by customers. It also creates fewer liabilities than a regular loyalty program.
If you already offer some form of cashback in your store, you can double or even triple it during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
19. Free balance to spend for Black Friday shopping spree
Loss Aversion behavior is a popular marketing psychology tactic. In short, it says that customers are much more likely to engage in behaviors that help them avoid losing something rather than acquiring something new. To tap into this interesting dynamic, you could offer gift cards to customers who visit your store on Black Friday. It is even better to differentiate the gifted amount based on customer and order attributes to offer better deals to more loyal customers.
Moreover, consider taking advantage of this principle in the context of service platforms. For instance, if you are running a subscription-based service, you can entice potential customers with a complimentary subscription during Black Friday. As an extra incentive, offer them a free 14-day trial to explore the full benefits of your service.
20. Bonus services on BFCM
If your margins don’t allow for spray-and-pray promotions everywhere, it doesn’t mean that you can’t capitalize on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. But it will require some creativity on your side.
If you have a physical store, for example, a cosmetics store, you could offer additional services that day, like a trial make-up. Adding service or a deferred service to the purchases can motivate your customers to place more or higher orders with you, and it does not need to cost you a ton. For example, Cartier, a luxury brand, offered extended returns on Black Friday shopping.
21. Plot twist – Black Friday in July
PMD Beauty shook things up with a July Black Friday sale, offering a 30% flash discount with code JULY30. While the name choice is intriguing, it proves that mega sales aren't confined to one day. Tailor your promos to your data, not just the calendar. Riding the Black Friday wave is good, but there might be even more lucrative days. Exercise caution; experiment with smaller segments if data is scarce.
You can take notes from Pomelo Fashion, dropping their Mega Fashion Sale every November 11th, sidestepping the Black Friday madness.
22. Mystery deals on Black Friday
Unveiling Mystery Deals for Black Friday is a clever strategy to pique customer interest and create anticipation. The allure of the unknown adds an extra layer of excitement to the shopping experience.
Sears has advertised their Black Friday promotions announcing Mystery Deals, not specifying what exactly they will offer. This is a great strategy to bring customers' attention to their sales. In the end, who doesn’t like a good mystery?
Among the disclosed promotions is a standout: a 100% cashback in loyalty points on selected products. In essence, it's like receiving some products for free, all thanks to the enticing cashback. This irresistible offer not only appeals to customers initially but also guarantees their return, as they come back to take advantage of the cashback incentive. It's a win-win, ensuring customers become repeat shoppers instead of one-time visitors.
23. Fixed price on the flagship product – Black Friday exclusive
Leveraging a fixed price for your flagship product is a stellar promotional move. Pick an item with a robust profit margin, enabling you to offer a substantial discount that draws in a wave of potential customers. As orders roll in enticed by this special offer, there's a ripple effect – customers are not only snagging the discounted flagship product but are also likely to explore and purchase additional items.
This type of promotion is not just about selling out the highlighted product; it's a strategic play to elevate foot traffic, attract more visitors, and ultimately boost overall sales. This approach transforms a single product promotion into a catalyst for broader business success.
A shining example of this strategy in action is Birdies, who launched a Black Friday promotion featuring a special fixed price on their Starling flats ($95 instead of $140).
What should you remember about Black Friday promotions?
In gearing up for Black Friday, prioritizing a secure promotion hierarchy is crucial to safeguard against fraud, especially during the bustling shopping period. Fraudulent activities, such as unauthorized voucher redemptions and malicious attempts to exploit promotions, pose a significant threat to both businesses and consumers.
Do not exhaust your budget unnecessarily. You can target discounts and save marketing budget by, for example:
- Applying promotion conditions, for example, setting a minimum order total.
- Creating different discount levels for different customer segments.
- Creating discounts for specific products or product lines only.
- Making the campaign exclusive (non-redeemable with other promotions and discounts).
- Limiting the number of times the promotion can be used.
- Setting up your own, unique promotion rules and limits.
Voucherify can assist you in creating targeted scenarios, combining promotions, and stacking discounts. Our validation APIs ensure the safety of your campaigns. Campaign personalization, customer targeting, and possible POS integration are additional features that can streamline the creation of tailored and omnichannel campaigns during the BFCM season.
Launch your 2023 Black Friday promotion with Voucherify