An ape dressed in pink, sitting in a shopping cart, wearing vr-glasses, holding a handbag, ready for online shopping and for the black friday cyber week e-commerce sales

Are you ready for your best Black Friday?

October 2023

Ahh, it’s that special time of year again. The pumpkins have been carved, the leaves are falling, the whiff of bonfire smoke and sweet online deals is in the air. Yes, Black Friday is almost upon us. And you, of course, have a finely-tuned Black Friday marketing strategy all prepared and raring to go.

In the olden days, when Black Friday was actually just one Friday in November, the evening news carried scenes of shoppers punching each other as they fought over cheap TV sets in department stores.

Now it’s something that happens largely online (and over many days, if not weeks, and with little or no punching). According to Salesforce, global online sales hit an all-time high of $281 billion in Cyber Week 2022 (the week around Black Friday). That was up 2% from 2021, while many high street retailers reported a lighter footfall.

So Black Friday is a big moment for e-commerce, and it’s going to get bigger. Here are 6 trends and tips marketers need to know about to make the most of it.

1. The Black Friday creep just keeps on creeping

Just as Christmas seems to start in October these days, so does Black Friday. Many retailers start promotions as early as October 1 – and keep them going until Christmas. Should we rename the whole thing Black Friday Season? Either way, the lesson for marketers is that this is a chance to build loyalty with offers and incentives and after-sales care that lasts beyond November.

2. Social media is the future for Black Friday

Salesforce data showed that the majority (76%) of Cyber Week ecommerce traffic came through mobile devices. And of that traffic, 10% was referred through social media – the highest referral percentage ever seen during the holiday season. So make sure your mobile experience is a thing of beauty, and put some extra love into your social campaigns.

3. It pays to go big on Black Friday discounts

As budgets shrink, inflation rises and other gloomy economic things happen, it’s not surprising that buy now, pay later (BNPL) is growing. In Cyber Week 2022, BNPL orders rose 85% and revenue increased 88% compared with the week earlier, as shoppers tried to stretch their dollars.

5. The buy online, pick-up in store option is popular

There’s another acronym that we’ll be seeing more of. The number of shoppers opting for BOPIS (buy online and pick up in store) grew 9% globally over Black Friday 2022. And in the US, retailers that offered BOPIS grew online revenue by 38% more than those that didn’t. Clearly, we don’t like standing in queues (or punching each other) to bag our Black Friday bargains.

6. Try to be good: sustainable and ethical is key

Last year was a sales record-breaker, but there was a point not long ago where it seemed that Black Friday had its (Fri)days numbered. There was a backlash against the rampant consumerism it promoted. As consumers become more concerned about their environmental footprint, many brands make doing good (making a donation to a charity with every order, for example) an important part of their Black Friday marketing strategy.

If the Black Friday online sales figures from 2022 are anything to go by, November 24th 2023 could be a magical moment for retailers. And if, on Tuesday 28thn you’re left with that post-party come-down feeling, Christmas is just round the corner. 

Ilustration: Midjourney