Huge opportunity or massive threat? Well, that depends on you, your business and your customers. Hyper-spending, over-consumption and waste, have tainted these huge shopping days as the rise of conscious consumerism has taken root. So, it’s essential to do your research before you hop on the bandwagon to offer Black Friday or Cyber Monday discounts. On one hand, careful planning and thoughtful promotion can make the event work ethically for you and your customers. But on the other hand, it might be better to buck the trend altogether. Here, we investigate whether these shopping events are really worth it and how to do them right.

What exactly are Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Black Friday always takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving. That means this year it will fall on Friday 25 November 2022. And Cyber Monday will be Monday 28 November 2022. Black Friday has grown from a 1950s US holiday sale to a worldwide shopping extravaganza. And with the rise of online stores, Cyber Monday has also become one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Is Cyber Monday the same as Black Friday?

There doesn’t seem to be much difference between the two. Black Friday sales can go on for a few days before and after, and Cyber Monday is an online-only 24-hour sale. Typically, Black Friday is the one that has all the bargains from big retailers and Cyber Monday has better online discounts from smaller retailers. Either way, you have to know your audience before you decide what’s best for your business.

Are Black Friday and Cyber Monday still relevant to consumers?

The pandemic has had a significant impact on online shopping. Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season for retailers and can account for up to 30% of annual sales. But research shows that in 2020 54%-71% of online traffic for both events were from mobile devices, and Shopify reported that the peak time for online sales was between 10am-11am (GMT). But over 70% of people abandoned their carts. If that’s the case, you may need to do more to stand out from the crowd and catch those impulse buyers.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: are they helpful or harmful?

It can be a great opportunity for businesses to have that much-needed boost in sales. But what will it cost those that are trying to remain competitive against similar businesses or large retailer discounts? According to statistics, UK consumers’ interest in this American shopping event has been dwindling in recent years, but there’s no sign of it slowing down from a retailer perspective.

Many UK shoppers now prefer to shop more sustainably – now more than ever as Brits head into a brutal winter with the cost of living soaring. In fact, if you’re careful and thoughtful enough, your business could profit from the current economy – unless shoppers stop buying Christmas presents completely. Which we doubt will come to pass.

Think about your customers. Do you have something they really desire, regardless of the economic climate? Could you sell off old stock if it’s financially smart? Or promote unmissable Christmas gifts so consumers can get a bargain at the same time as well as doing their Christmas shopping early?

Should I opt in or out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales?

As we approach the winter sales, small businesses often feel pressure to compete with bigger retailers. So, research and investigate first instead of getting caught up in sales and marketing. For some, these busy events can be unprofitable and unsustainable, and simply create the illusion of success. If it makes no financial sense, to the point where it could actually harm your business to participate in this mega shopping event, then don’t. You can still acknowledge the event. Consider joining Green Friday, the counterculture alternative to Black Friday, This ensures you’re capitalising on a busy week online without surrendering what you stand for. Supporting Green Friday means offering an eco-alternative, such as donating a percentage of your sales to charity; planting trees; offsetting the carbon footprint of purchases rather than discounts or providing an extra discount on sale products so they’re sold rather than going to waste.

Eight ways to maximise your sales

The countdown to the two biggest grossing holiday dates has begun. If you’re joining in, it’s essential that you take these important steps to ensure you’re prepared. Here’s our checklist:

  1. Think about the current climate: what do your customers actually want and need?
  2. Create interesting, unmissable and exclusive offers and discounts.
  3. Be open and honest with product quantities (this has the added bonus of creating urgency).
  4. Check your delivery infrastructure, stock and logistics and ensure you’re set up logistically for increased demand.
  5. Make sure the online shopper experience/journey works like a dream, with a simple, short checkout process and clear extra costs.
  6. Start the countdown and build anticipation by spreading the word on social media and by email.
  7. Offer free shipping – but only if it’s financially viable.
  8. Don’t forget about customer support for returns or order issues.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are, most commonly, seen by retailers as a fantastic opportunity to make more sales and increase business profits. But it’s important to remember this bargain-hunting event isn’t right for every business.

We have the digital marketing services you need to get ready for the shopping season. Check out our guide to planning your Christmas digital marketing strategy or book a discovery call to learn how we can do it all for you.