10 Inspirations for Outstanding Black Friday Promotions
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the two days with the most promotional activities during the whole year in the US and in many other countries. According to Adobe Digital, e-commerce purchases this time of year in 2019 reached $16.8 billion. Running promotions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a must for most companies, as otherwise they may lose sales to their competitors. Are you planning to jump on the discounting bandwagon this year?
In this blog post, I will cover 10 inspirations for Black Friday campaigns based on real-life use cases. I tried to pick offers that differ from each other to show you various examples of promotion conditions that you can offer on Black Friday. I hope you find them helpful in planning your next Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) campaign!
Destination Maternity – up to 60% off automatic discount
Destination Maternity Corporation is the world's largest designer and retailer of maternity apparel, based in Moorestown, New Jersey.
They have launched a Black Friday promotion offering up to 60% off everything. Their emails were Christmas presents-themed, focusing on shoppers who were looking for Christmas gifts.
- The promotion excludes select brands, bras, price-point styles, Parent’s Magazine subscriptions, gift card purchases and international orders.
- Offer is not valid at leased and licensed locations.
- The offer cannot be combined with other discounts or offers.
Allbirds – charity donations on Black Friday
Allbirds is a New Zealand-American company that designs and sells sustainable footwear and apparel.
Nowadays, CSR and charity donations are trendy. Customers like to contribute to a bigger picture with their purchases and are often ready to pay a premium price for a product or service that is contributing to the environment or society. Read more about how to get your customers to splurge in our blog post about the licensing effect.
This is what Allbirds used in their Black Friday campaign. They have raised all prices by $1 and claimed they will contribute another $1 to make $2 donations for every product purchased on Black Friday. This is quite an innovative CSR campaign. They have titled their promotional emails A Better Black Friday Deal.
Timberland – 30% off and a donation for tree planting
Timberland LLC is an American manufacturer and retailer of outdoors wear, with a focus on footwear.
Timberland is yet another company who has chosen to add charitable touch to their Black Friday campaign. They offered a 30% off on selected products as well as a $1 donation for each ground shipping towards tree planting.
- 30% off offer valid on selected footwear, apparel and accessories.
- Free ground shipping offered on all orders (in US only).
- If you choose ground shipping, Timberland will offer a $1 donation to have a tree planted by American Forests.
L’Occitane – free gift with a qualifying purchase
L'Occitane en Provence, commonly known as L'Occitane, is an international retailer of body, face, fragrances and home products based in Manosque, France.
L’Occitane 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 in value. They have sent a promotional email with the subject line Why Wait? Fill Your 🛒 Now for Black Friday!
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).
- The promotion requires using a coupon code CATALOG20.
- The promotion is limited to once per customer.
- The qualifying purchase has to have at least $85 value, excluding on sale products, taxes and shipping.
- The offer cannot be combined with any other promotion, offer or coupon.
- No returns, no cash back can be asked for the gift.
Estee Lauder – double loyalty points and an exclusive product on sale
The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. is an American multinational manufacturer and seller of prestige skincare, makeup, fragrance and hair care products, based in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.
Estee launched a Black Friday promotion offering double loyalty points for the loyalty club members and a limited edition product (lip gloss set of 6 lip gloss miniatures) at a promotional fixed price. They have sent a promotional email with the subject line Black Friday Exclusive: Limited Edition Shine On Gloss Collection + Double Points Today.
- Only one samples set can be applied to order.
- Offer available to US citizens only.
Birdies – a new, fixed price on their flagship product
Birdies is a DTC shoe brand that originally designed trendy indoor slippers, but customers loved how comfortable the slides and flats were and began wearing them out and about too.
They have launched a Black Friday promotion offering a special, fixed price on their Starling flats ($95 instead of $140). They have sent a promotional email with the subject line Early Access: Our Black Friday Special 👏 to promote the sale. This is a great strategy to promote one particular product. You can also select a product you know you have a higher margin on and can give away a bigger discount on, to bring in traffic. Often customers who are placing an order, encouraged by the offer, may buy other products as well. The flagship product at a lower price is not only a great way to sell out that product but also to attract more visitors and more sales in general.
Orangewood – a promotional bundle
Orangewood is a DTC guitar store founded with one simple idea: to offer quality, affordable, and easy-to-play guitars through the best online buying experience.
They have launched a Black Friday promotion offering a product bundle using a coupon code. Customers had to add to their carts Orangewood Guitar, an Accessory Kit and Ernie Ball strings as well as use a coupon code Bundleup20 to claim the offer. The Accessory Kit and Ernie Ball strings were offered free of charge, if the purchase qualified for the offer. They have sent a promotional email advertising their offer with the subject line Free. Bundle. Gift..
Offering a product bundle as a Black Friday sale, especially offering complementary products free of charge with the main product, is a great way to increase the purchases of the main product (in this case, a guitar) as customers who were waiting for the right moment to purchase it may be finally convinced to purchase it at this moment. On the other hand, it also helps to sell out slower moving goods faster. It may be a better strategy than simply discounting the main product.
- The promotion only applies to guitars of $195 or higher value.
- The free Accessory Kit cannot be returned.
- If a guitar with the promotional bundle is returned, $25 will be deducted from the refunded amount. A regular guitar restocking fee of $15 will also be applied (this fee is charged in the case of non-promotional returns as well).
Victoria Emerson – VIP BOGO deal
Victoria Emerson is an accessible luxurious jewelry brand.
They launched a Black Friday BOGO sale, targeted only at VIP customers. They have advertised it by sending emails to their VIP customers with the subject line HEY VIP! Black Friday is HERE for YOU. The promotion required using a discount code SUPERVIP. It could not be combined with other promotions or offers.
I do not like their email visual (it is dull and has nothing to do with their brand or products) but I do like the idea of both, BOGO sale for Black Friday (it is a generous sale and it brings in higher basket value) as well as a promotion targeted only at VIP customers, who are worth such a promotional spend.
Sears – mystery deals on Black Friday
Sears is a US retailer, who used to be the biggest retailer in the 1980s, but now is slowly closing business due to their parent company filing bankruptcy in 2018.
They have 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. Who doesn’t like mystery?
They sent a promotional email with the subject line Open up! 🚪 Reveal your Black Friday mystery deals. They have disclosed one promotion, a 100% cash back in loyalty points on chosen products, basically giving away some products for free (thanks to the cashback). It is a very attractive offer for customers and it ensures they come back again to use the cashback, ensuring they won’t be one-time customers.
PMD Beauty – Black Friday in July
PMD Beauty is a premier beauty company offering smart beauty tools and skincare products.
They have launched a Black Friday sale in July. This was basically a flash sale of 30% off with a BLACKFRIDAY coupon code. Truth is, they could have named it anything else than Black Friday but maybe they were hoping to get customer hearts pounding with a Black Friday name.
This example shows that generous flash sales do not have to be limited to one day per year and can be even more profitable on another date, depending on a business. You should plan your promotions based on your historical sales and customer data, not only on the general calendar. While jumping on a Black Friday bandwagon may be profitable, there may be other, more profitable days of the year and campaign ideas to spend that marketing budget on. Always be cautious and, if you do not yet have historical data or experience, launch a promotion as an experiment for a smaller customer segment to see the results or launch a couple of experiments with different promotional settings, to see what works and learn for your next year Black Friday. An example of a company who launches a recurring, yearly promotion on a different than Black Friday date is Pomelo Fashion, an Asian fast-fashion retailer. Pomelo launches a Pomelo Mega Fashion Sale every 11.11, before the Black Friday craze begins.
What to do for Black Friday 2021?
Black Friday is an internationally recognized sales day when plenty of companies launch offers and promotions. While it is the most popular day for running promotions, there is no single recipe for success and there are multiple ways to approach the promotions on that day. Most companies make their offers valid for the Black Friday weekend, meaning Friday through Monday, however, some companies launch the promotion earlier (pre-sales) or prolong the promotion (on the extreme side, until Christmas).
These are some trends we have seen after analysing 100+ Black Friday promotions from 2018-2020:
- Companies are launching more automatic discounts than coupons (unless they use personalized coupons).
- Public, standalone coupons, like BlackFriday, are slowly getting out of use – probably because they are harder to use for the customers and anyways, publicly available, so auto-applied promotions are a better choice in that case.
- We have not seen too many personalized promotions. Most of them were available to the general public and were very generic (percentage or dollar off sales prevailing).
- The amount discounted varies between 20% to 50% off in most cases.
- Some companies opt for heavily discounting flagship products.
- We sadly have not seen too many limitations introduced in the Black Friday offers. We believe there should be more, to protect businesses from abuse and fraud.
- There has been a big boom of CSR and charity-oriented Black Friday sales or actions.
- Some companies refused to do Black Friday whatsoever because they claim such shopping craze is not sustainable, and is hurtful to the society and environment. One such company is Deciem, who has even closed their stores (including website) on that day. They have, however, launched big sales one month leading up to the Black Friday, bringing sales when competitors were not heavily discounting and bringing even more media attention and coverage on the Black Friday itself. We can’t judge if this is the winning strategy, however, do keep in mind there are 365 days in a year when you can launch sales and you should consider what is most profitable for your business, not blindly copying others’ strategy.
- The same mindset has led to companies launching recurring "Black Friday” promotions or Black Fridays in July. I believe such naming may be confusing, although I like the idea of having flash sales more regularly than once per year and more targeted or personalized than the generic Black Friday promotions.
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