Black Friday Race 2019: Discounts - that’s how you tackle it

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the sales season are all about one thing: discounts. But it’s not just about discounts, but exceptional discounts, the best ones for the entire year, in fact. Just a few years ago, consumers on this side of the pond weren’t really aware what Black Friday was and that it goes hand-in-hand with huge discounts, but now you, the merchant, can’t get away with sub-par offerings. If you’re planning on rolling out offerings that aren’t up to snuff, then it’d be better if you didn’t enter in the Black Friday race because not meeting expectations could have negative consequences. But what’s a good offering, and what do you have to keep in mind to get the best results?

A bad offer

As the saying goes, there’s no bad publicity. However true this statement may ring, a bad offering can frustrate potential clients to the point where they decided to go buy somewhere else. Below are two examples of what we’re talking about.

Exhibit A: A well-known clothing chain
Get a €100 discount on this €350 jacket when you spend €300 or more.

So, you have to shell out at least €300 to get a discount on only one specific item that you just also have to coincidentally want to buy.

Exhibit B: A web drugstore
A €5 personal discount code

Five Euro off sounds like a good discount and the way it’s stated above gives it a bit of a personal touch, too. Yet, that is, until you read the fine print: only when you spend €55 or more. When is the last time you spent €55 on stuff from a drugstore? In this case, you have to spend way more than you would normally have, and all for what comes out as a 9% discount?

Don’t forget that these companies in the above examples have also created whole promotion campaigns around the discounts, and have spent a lot of time and money sending emails and making social media posts. You can guess what the outcome of their efforts would be.

A good offer

This is how you do it — First, you have to consider consumers’ expectations, which comes down to two things:

  1. The type of product you’re selling. Some products almost never have discounts which means that if there are discounts on these items on Black Friday or during the sales season, then it’s special and therefore attractive for customers. Customers may also accept a lesser discount due to the price and exclusivity of an item.
  2. If you frequently give discount offers. Does your customer, or a customer at a competitor, frequently get discounts on these products? Are there sales a couple of times a year with, for example, 40%-50% discounts? If both of these things are true, then you really need to come up with something special.

Accordingly, there are two types of offerings possible here:

  1. Generic. A 20% discount on everything. It’s not a big number, but it’s valid for everything you sell, so your consumers don’t have to buy a specific product in order to get a discount.
  2. A big discount on a specific product or products. In the US, there are a lot of deals that offer products for huge discounts. For example, a particular TV may regularly be priced at €1200 but they slash the price to €350. You have to want this specific TV, but even if you don't, the price is so good that you go for it anyway. These are the types of discounts that have people sleeping out in front of stores overnight.

Do’s & don'ts

Don’t give consumers the idea that you’re using Black Friday to offload all the stuff that no one wants. Of course, items can sell out in no time. Here, you can give indications as to your stock by adding an extra button that says, for example, "87 sold today." You can also increase the urgency to buy with texts like, "Only two left in your size!"

If a product is sold out, then make sure there’s a similar alternative available. Of course customers will be disappointed, but at least they’ll get something to soothe their disappointment. Let’s go back to our example of the €1200 TV going for €350. A lot of people will line up for this offer, but many will also miss out due to it quickly selling out. So what do you do? Have another great offer: a €700 TV for €400. Okay, it’s not as good as the previous one, but it’s still an attractive offer and the customer doesn’t want to go home empty-handed — take advantage of it.

Black Friday’s Impact

Black Friday is a great opportunity to let a lot of consumers get to know your company and products. But does that mean you have to go into the red to take advantage of it? You can figure that out on your own, but you should at least be aware of the impact Black Friday can have. You can use all the attention you get on Black Friday to boost future sales. You could also save on purchasing by buying in bulk.

Do you want to be ready for anything? Download our checklist detailing everything you need to take into consideration.