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The different shades of Black Friday retailers

Traditionally Black Friday was an opportunity for retailers to shift unsold stock. Today, retailers are reappraising Black Friday and adopting more nuanced approaches to this critical sales period based on their business objectives.  

Why it matters

The changing nature of Black Friday is resulting in the emergence of distinct, broad retailer types based on their strategy over this period. Epsilon has identified six retailer types. Each group must adopt different marketing approaches aligned to their strategy to be successful over Black Friday. 

Deeper dive –understanding the different Black Friday retailer personas

  1. Black Friday Behemoths. These go big on Black Friday, focusing on discounting across a wide range of products in every site category. By investing in technology, they’ve established sophisticated omnichannel capabilitiesOptimising platforms and processes, clearly signposting site visitors, and making it easy to buy are essential for a successful Black Friday
    for them

  2. Green Fridayers. For these, it’s not just about profit. They want to build awareness around their more principled approach to Black Friday by focusing on their eco-friendly credentials.
    This group must focus on getting their message heard. Supporting good causes, emphasising community, and building emotional attachment with customers are essential over this period.   

  3. Loyalty-conscious. With a ‘customer-first’ approach, they use Black Friday to reward loyalty.
    Prioritising deals, targeting relevant offers based on customers’ buying habits and refreshing their rewards perks ahead of Black Friday will help deliver success.  

  4. Black Friday and Beyond. This group takes a broader view of the selling period. To maximise opportunities, they must shift customer focus not just on Black Friday but also Christmas.
    Using transactional and timing data to target their activity around when and what people buy while adapting their pre-and post-Black Friday messaging to ensure relevant and timely
    campaigns will help deliver to their objective.  

  5. Stock Shifters. This group adopt the traditional approach, using Black Friday to sell off unwanted lines. Using behavioural and purchasing data to target customers most likely to buy specific stock lines is key, as is using stock level information to adjust messaging quickly
    based on what is available. 

  6. Business Builders. Black Friday is central to this group’s customer acquisition strategy. They use Black Friday to build their customer base, then focus on converting new buyers into repeat purchasers over the next 12 months. Removing account creation friction, ensuring new customers are genuinely new and having a solid retention strategy in place are important
    elements for success.

In a nutshell 

One size no longer fits all when it comes to Black Fridays. Retailers need to evolve their approach. They must have a clear strategy around this sales period and then ensure their marketing supports their goal. For some retailers, their ethos and values may even lead to them not participating in Black Friday.   

Find out more about these different retailer personas, the challenges around Black Friday and seven steps to a successful trading period by downloading our report here.