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Strategy

Black Friday Might Be Damaging Your Brand

Is the popular shopping 'holiday' failing to turn profits?

Adam Fout
October 31 2019

Black Friday’s popularity cannot be denied—year after year, customers forego the turkey dinner and rush the stores for “unbelievable” deals. Leaving aside all the reasons Black Friday is unpleasant for employees and customers, Black Friday is bad for youthe marketer and the brand.

Black Friday may hurt your brand

Backlash to Black Friday is growing, and brands are suffering for it.

The reality is that Black Friday has for years been creeping into Thanksgiving, and as a result, employees are finding themselves working mandatory holidays on a day dedicated to family. And the public is beginning to find all the hoopla distasteful. Though putting aside how your customers may or may not feel about Black Friday, you should consider something a bit more concerning—you might not even turn a profit on Black Friday.

Retail Pulse

It’s questionable whether you’ll actually profit on Black Friday

We call it Black Friday because it’s famously the day when profits for most retail stores go “into the black,” but whether or not you profit on that very day is questionable.

The numbers leave room for debate, but about a third of retailers feel that Black Friday is essentially unprofitable. What does that mean from a practical standpoint? It means that another big chunk believes Black Friday is profitable, so we are left with three possibilities:

  1. A third of retailers have actually run the numbers and seen the—Black Friday is unprofitable
  2. Another third have run their own dang numbers and have found Black Friday to be profitable
  3. (The Likely Reality) Both are somewhat correct—your experience will depend on your strategy

For the savvy marketer in 2019, a marketing campaign about how your brand values family and togetherness and is giving employees Thanksgiving and Black Friday the day off (and closing stores) will probably benefit your store a lot more than any discounts you can drum up.

If you’re on the Anti-Black-Friday bandwagon, then we should probably talk about its cooler cousin—Cyber Monday.

Black Friday is just not as cool (or as potentially profitable) as Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is more advantageous for several reasons:

  1. Cyber Monday is on Monday—just another day that won’t ruin Thanksgiving dinner with PopPop and MeeMaw for all your employees.
  2. Cyber Monday is… well… cyber. You don’t have to pay for an in-store extravaganza because it’s all online.
  3. Cyber Monday is far more likely to be profitable because of its online nature. People are avoiding Black Friday in part because of the crowds. During Cyber Monday, customers can shop all evening without the stress of getting into the car and crowd surfing for a Tickle Me Elmo doll.

Still, you may not have a choice—Black Friday may be a mandate coming down from Corporate-on-High, and if so, you need to prepare.

If skipping Black Friday isn’t an option, make the most of it. Open at a reasonable hour and use these tips to make sure you’re not left behind. And before you start slashing your pieces, check out these tips for keeping customers engaged and entertained without going into the red.

And as always, good luck out there, marketer.

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Adam Fout

Adam Fout, resident content and brand sorcerer at BlueSteelSolutions, guides brands through the mystical process of creating website and blog content that enchants customers and entices leads. He also writes fiction in his free time at My Website

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