I’m curious – was anyone else overwhelmed by Black Friday this year?

I ask this because I am not a dedicated Black Friday shopper. I hate shopping in person. In college, I went once but only because a friend dragged me out at 4 am to go to a bunch of stores. Honestly? I’d rather sleep.

Why Black Friday Marketing Overwhelms Me

Even though I am not about 4 am sales, at least the concept of Black Friday used to feel simple. Once a year, stores would sell big-ticket items for a wild discount. As long as you didn’t mind waiting in line or fighting off the rest of the crowd, you had a chance of saving a LOT of money on your holiday shopping.

But, in the past few years, Black Friday has expanded into Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. It’s four days of every small to big businesses and thousands of charities vying for our attention. As a consumer, it is incredibly overwhelming. Although I definitely see the significance of why these days exist, I also feel that the way many businesses go about it is not customer-friendly.

What I hate the most about what Black Friday weekend has become is there are too many sales going on. This year, I brought my kids to an indoor playground at the mall, and we ended up wandering into a couple of stores we’d never been to. I wasn’t expecting to buy anything, but I found a jacket I really liked, and it was 40% off. I wanted to buy one for my mother-in-law as well, but they only had one of our size in stock. So, I went home and ordered another online just two hours after I left the store…only to find a better sale online – I could have saved $20 more!

Black Friday Woes

I don’t know what kind of shopper you are, but seeing this better deal online led me down a rabbit hole of thinking. Should I buy two online and return the one I bought in person to get a better discount? In my past life, I probably would have. But now, driving 40 minutes round-trip to the mall for that $20 isn’t worth it. Plus, the retail price of the jacket is worth more, I could feel and try it on in the store, and 40% is still a great discount!

…Not that I even need to justify this. And that’s my point – I hate that these two conflicting deals made me go down a path of buyer’s remorse. Shouldn’t scoring a great sale make us feel good and as if the companies we buy from are on our side? Is it really necessary for people to have to question their Black Friday purchases because maybe there will be a better sale on Cyber Monday?

Better Black Friday Practices

I believe that there are ways businesses can partake in the hype of Black Friday without making their customers feel pressured to buy or icky about the types of savings they get. Here are some better Black Friday practices to consider.

Keep Your Sales Consistent Across All Channels

People who shop in person and people who prefer to buy online are two different types of audiences. I wish stores would offer the same sale both in-person and online. It’s okay if they are on different days, but please just keep it consistent.

Creative Bundling

This year, I bought a bundle of tappable language books from Habbi Habbi, and I really love their creative bundling during Black Friday weekend. They already sell discounted bundles of books throughout the year, no matter when you decide to buy, but on Black Friday, they have different bundles or small additions. 

For example, you can buy a Starter Set of books all year round. However, it’s only on Black Friday when you get a special discount for buying three Starter Sets, either in different languages or to give to others. You can buy an Everything Set of books all year round, but this year, they added an extra wand to the Everything Set during Black Friday. I love that they’ve thought through their sales to still feel special while not competing with their product pricing throughout the rest of the year. They also ran their Black Friday sale through the entire holiday weekend, so there was no second-guessing or buyer’s remorse involved!

Prep Your Customers for a Sale

I’m sad I can’t remember who did this, but there was one year when I saw a company post their holiday sale schedule so customers knew what to expect. I loved it because every day had a unique sale that wasn’t “better or worse” discount-wise. Rather, each day had a special sale on a specific item so people could plan ahead and bookmark the specific sale day on their calendar. I think this is a great way to get customers excited for a certain sale day, or even just relieve the mental load off customers from sale-anticipation-anxiety.

Share Your Favorite Businesses

Another great way to celebrate Black Friday weekend? Promote the businesses you love who may be running their own sales! As a business owner, it can sometimes feel like Black Friday is a competition for attention and money, and it can be extremely overwhelming and discouraging. So why not use it as a time to also promote camaraderie?

Personally, I love seeing people take off to enjoy the holiday weekend and not stress about how their business can “keep up” with the holidays. However, I know that isn’t always possible. 

Although Black Friday is over this year, I think it’s still the perfect time to reflect on the chaos and learn some lessons for next year. And if thinking through better marketing practices is your cup of tea (or coffee, if you prefer), you’re in good company! Book a call with us today, and we can talk through your marketing strategies and how we can help make sure they make sense for your business.