General / Black Friday 2022: Should your business participate?

Black Friday 2022: Should your business participate?

Georgina Thorne
Black Friday 2022: Should your business participate?

If you’re wondering whether running a Black Friday 2022 sale fits with your brand, you’re going to want to read this.

Black Friday has been the topic of many conversations in the office over the last few weeks. We’ve been debating the pros and cons of this annual extravaganza and what to expect this year, especially with the cost of living making life difficult for a lot of people.

Could Black Friday 2022 be a lifeline or unnecessary encouragement for people to spend money they don’t have?

As a brand, you have a couple of options when it comes to Black Friday. You can join in, slash your prices and open the floodgates for multiple sales. Or, you can choose to go the other way.

To not run Black Friday sales, to turn off your site, or in some cases charge more and share that profit with a charity of your choice.

We’ve managed many Black Friday campaigns over the years and in our experience, both options can be equally profitable in their own way. The question is which one is right for your brand?

To kick off the debate, let’s go back to the beginning.

When and where did Black Friday start?

The term Black Friday dates back to early 1960s Philadelphia where police officers used the phrase to describe the chaos when large numbers of suburban tourists came to the city to start their holiday shopping.

It wasn’t until the 1980’s that the term “Black Friday” was used to signify a positive boost in retail sales. Black Friday was the biggest shopping day in the United States and a day that retailers made their biggest profit for the year.

Fast forward a few years to 2010 when Amazon brought Black Friday to the UK and the trend spread across multiple retail outlets as well as multiple days. This saw lots of retailers make some serious money.

This year Black Friday falls on the 24th of November and there is some question about whether it’s going to be a success or not.

While research from LoyaltyLion suggests that 68% of UK consumers are waiting for Black Friday weekend (perhaps much-needed savings while money is tight) there is a concern for retailers and whether they’re in a strong enough financial position to give such big discounts.

So, let’s dig into the pros and cons of Black Friday, to help figure out if your ecommerce store should offer BF deals.

The pros of Black Friday

  • Being an internationally recognised shopping day, you can capitalise on the hype of Black Friday via multiple digital marketing channels and create a buzz around your brand.
  • All the buzz you create around Black Friday will help to drive traffic to your website and increase the chance of making a sale.
  • Ramping up your customer outreach around Black Friday will help you to attract new customers.
  • You get to shift unwanted stock and have a good clear out of old inventory ready for the new year.

The cons of Black Friday

  • The demand for discounts can hit smaller businesses that can’t afford to compete with the big guys, especially if the sales run for the whole week. It could mean a loss in profit if they match the discounts, or being totally overlooked if they don’t.
  • You see a decline in sales before and after the Black Friday event, where customers are holding off buying until the prices drop causing a cash flow problem.
  • With more frenzied bulk buying comes the onslaught of returns. If the products are heavily discounted, handling returns will eat into your profit margins. And depending on when the goods are returned you might not have a chance to resell them before Christmas.
  • You could run out of stock. While this might be seen as a good thing, not having enough stock means a loss in potential sales and future customers, if they can’t get what they want.

Black Friday 2022 and sustainability

There’s also a good argument for the environmental impact of Black Friday.

Back in 2021, The Guardian reported that “85% of independent retailers will not participate this year in Black Friday…  as part of a renewed drive against the rabid consumerism encouraged by large online sellers offering deals.”

Hiut Denim boycotts Black Friday

Hiut Denim Co Facebook post boycotting Black Friday

Hiut Denim Co. opts for closing their ecommerce site for the day rather than push Black Friday sales.

One brand that comes to mind for boycotting Black Friday is Hiut Denim Co.

They’re an independent jeans manufacturer in Wales who used Black Friday to amplify their purpose of doing one thing well, which is making the best jeans not the cheapest jeans

Instead of a sale, they tell their audience why they will be closing their website for the day.

Allbirds encourages customers to reflect on conscious consumerism

Allbirds encourages customers to reflect on conscious consumerism

Allbirds encourages customers to reflect on conscious consumerism.

Image source

Sustainable shoe company Allbirds, promoted a no-buy Black Friday and emptied its London flagship store of all products to turn it into a “space for inspiration and innovation”.

Offering customers some respite from Black Friday shopping through free interactive workshops and live gigs and some time to reflect on conscious consumerism.

To Black Friday, or to not Black Friday?

So, you can see why Black Friday has been the topic of conversation here at FP HQ.

Will Black Friday 2022 sales make Christmas more affordable for consumers, or will it encourage them to spend the little money they do have?

Is Black Friday worth it for independent retailers, or is the potential loss of profit too much?

Or could a Black Friday sale be a good opportunity for retailers to communicate their brand values, whether they choose to offer discounts or not?

We came to the conclusion that there is no right answer.

How you choose to navigate Black Friday has to be made based on your own business needs.

Whether it’s financially sustainable or fits with your brand. And whether you run a sale or not, you can still leverage the Black Friday buzz with clever marketing.

Helpful additional reading on Black Friday marketing campaigns:

Best eCommerce UX tips for Black Friday

5 Email marketing tips for Black Friday 2021