It’s Tuesday, November 29th, and if you’re reading this, it means you’ve survived this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday!
The first stats on the year’s biggest shopping weekend are in: according to the National Retail Federation, more than 154 million consumers made purchases, that’s about 3 million more than last year.
As for online sales, Adobe reported that this Black Friday surpassed the $3 billion mark for the first time, setting a new sales record. The final figures aren’t in yet, but it’s estimated that Cyber Monday will one-up this feat and become the largest online sales day in US retail history with close to $3.4 billion.
Although nothing motivates shoppers more than a good deal, you need a little marketing magic to get the best results. So what did retailers do during this year’s Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend? The answers are right here in this blog post – we’ll be looking at what some of the world’s retail titans (23, to be exact) did to promote their deals.
Read on, take inspiration and be sure to stick around for the conclusions at the end. But we have to start at the beginning, so let’s look at our selection of examples, peruse the visuals and discuss what works and why.
1. Apple, true to their form, went with a minimal, yet confident approach. Everyone knows Apple products are among the most coveted items for the holidays, meaning Apple can get away with putting a tiny little notice on their homepage. No explanation needed, the word Friday says it all.
When you click it, you are displayed an inviting Apple Watch with a black screen and a text that, once again, says Friday. Say no more, Apple, we’ll be coming back for more.
And on the big day itself, apple.com is as discreet as can be, except for the red banner on the bottom of the screen which leads us to an Apple Watch displaying a shopping list. Simple yet effective.
2. Dell went with the laid-back approach to their Black Friday online presence, too. They can’t compete with Apple just yet, but what they’re saying is, “Hey, Black Friday is here, the deals are here, we sell, you buy, let’s get down to business.”
Tip: If you can get away with it, less is more.
Fun, customized campaigns
For their worldwide Black Friday offer, 3. Asos decided to go with a catchy discount code – GOGOGO. That sounds like the unofficial motto of the whole Black Friday-Cyber Monday experience, so it’s extremely fitting.
But to juxtapose this GOGOGO sentiment, they reassure their customers that the most intense day of shopping is a very chill experience with Asos. So, chill, type in your code, and get to gift shopping.
A well-chosen pic on Instagram works wonders, too– Asos went with a pair of boots that look like greased lightning. Very in tune with the Black Friday-Cyber Monday atmosphere.
You may have noticed that fashion stores and cosmetics brands (like 4. Nasty Gal and 5. Lancôme) have the benefit of creating a particular theme for Black Friday. Bet you can’t guess what that is, huh?
6. Sephora added a certain sense of exclusivity to their Cyber Monday Twitter post by talking about spring way before anyone has gone shopping for their Christmas tree.
7. Barnes & Noble added an intriguing twist to their Black Friday experience by making the Black Friday weekend part of their Signed Editions campaign. A wonderful tactic, because the idea of getting your copies signed by the author generates more interest and makes the book a more personal gift.
Tip: Your spin on Black Friday-Cyber Monday doesn’t have to be limited to sales and the holidays, think about what would make your customers happy.
Alluring visuals and copy
8. Canon made their website all about Black Friday-Cyber Monday, just like the majority of online merchants. But their campaign banners came with a twist, a slot-machine style section about the hottest deals. Pretty fun to watch, and you stick around a little longer to see just what those hot deals are.
9. Crocs created a pretty marvelous Black Friday headline by using their brand image to create the slogan “Add color to Black Friday”.
What added extra charm to the 10. Staples campaign were the details, in this case, the titles for the product categories. You can already hear that tune inside of your head, can’t you?
Tip: When it comes to marketing, language is one of the strongest weapons in your arsenal, don’t be afraid to use it.
Focus on holidays vs. focus on savings
11. Gap made their online campaign more holiday-oriented, inviting customers to make the association with holiday spirit and look at this shopping-fuelled couple of days as the perfect time to find that perfect cozy gift. The play on words with the percentages is a nice touch.
12. Lenovo didn’t mention words like Black or Friday at all. Instead, they fully embraced the holiday mood and added a sense of urgency by adding a countdown clock. If that doesn’t get you buying laptops, nothing will.
One of the giants in the home improvement supply business, 13. Home Depot, didn’t hesitate to remind everyone that they’re the best. So for them, Black Friday-Cyber Monday is, too, business as usual. As you can tell by their website, they’re all about savings.
Although they mention the holidays, notice how the two Rudolphs and the Christmas tree are placed next to an ominous fridge and some power tools. The message is, “This is where you come to be smart about your purchases.
Tip: The whole idea behind Black Friday-Cyber Monday is smart holiday gift shopping. However, a 50-50 combination of holidays and savings can be bland, so it’s best to tip the scales a little.
A good practice from 14. Levi’s – they haven’t forgotten that Black Friday-Cyber Monday is just once a year and that growing their subscriber list is a something that will remain a constant priority. So before taking a look at their sweet deals, they ask you to become a subscriber.
Tip: The cool thing about Levi’s Black Friday offer was free shipping – now that’s a perk that always keeps people coming back for more.
A dash of humor
A bit of (black) humor is always a good way of attracting people’s attention. South Africa’s deals site 15. OneDayOnly.co.za embraced the Black Friday-Cyber Monday mentality to the fullest – the words speak for themselves.
Those working in retail know that this is the busiest time of the year from everyone in manufacturing to the folks in customer support. So here’s a clever way of showing your customers that everything’s going to be a-ok, courtesy of 16. Shopify.
For Cyber Monday, Nasty Gal created a cheeky campaign which probably reminds you of a few risky online messages you’ve sent or received.
17. Microsoft, however, poked a little fun at those waiting impatiently for Cyber Monday deals to go live.
Whereas 18. Forever 21 posted a meme-esque reminder of the struggles of every Black Friday-Cyber Monday shopper:
Tip: Creating content that gets a giggle out of your customers is a great way of gaining likes and shares on social media and building brand awareness.
For many, the holiday shopping experience was extended into Cyber Week, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday being the two peaks.
19. Amazon is one of the prime examples. To make shoppers come back for more, they’ve created a Deals of the Day segment split up into Available and Missed, a good little trick to create a sense of urgency.
They added some additional information to make the buyer more aware of what to expect, including tips on how to prepare for Cyber Monday. All this was combined with a pretty profound list of CTAs encouraging shoppers to engage with them, whether it’s following on social media or downloading an app.
On Amazon’s Twitter we saw that it doesn’t have to be about getting the biggest flat screen you see. You can also use Cyber Week to showcase the little things, which makes their holiday card offer a particularly cute touch in preparation for the upcoming holiday mayhem.
Sites like Amazon wouldn’t be what they are without thoroughness. Like for most retailers, all of their on-site and social media activity was amplified by email campaigns urging users not to miss any deals.
20. Rynair also took pride in the fact that they offer their customers a week of deals, not just two or three days. Good call, because people can never get enough of good travel deals.
A week-long deals extravaganza was also offered to 21. Marvel fans, including an aptly designed Cyber Monday campaign.
Tip: Cyber Week is not for the faint of heart, make sure you are prepared for an intense week of sales and promotion.
Deal or no deal?
It turns out you don’t have to sell a thing to be a part of the Black Friday craze. This is what 22. PC Mag did to attract of tech-thirsty shoppers searching the internet for the best deals– simply add your email and you’ve got the promise of a new laptop for Christmas in the palm of your hand.
There wasn’t any particular buzz around Black Friday-Cyber Monday deals generated by 23. Nokia, but they gave a good example of how to make your mark without selling anything, that is, posting information that shoppers will find useful.
As an ecommerce platform, Shopify doesn’t really have any deals to promote, but they can show their existing and potential users what Black Friday-Cyber Monday is all about. So they put up a real-time tracker of the sales made on Shopify from Friday till Monday. For one thing, it looks cool, and it’s also a good boost for all those on the fence about launching their online business.
Tip: As they say, the best things in life are free. Use the opportunity to share your knowledge with overwhelmed shoppers and gain a few popularity points along the way.
As you can see, a Black Friday-Cyber Monday marketing campaign isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of thing. You have to take a look around, see what the others are doing, and figure out what are aspects of your business you want to bring out the most or what you want people to associate your business with. To sum up everything listed in this article, you could be interested in showcasing a number of these aspects:
- Savings and value for money
- Your business as the perfect place to shop for gifts
- Exclusive perks like free shipping, discount codes, limited-time offers
- A straightforward shopping experience
- Outstanding customer support
Once you’re set on your angle, the next step is to decide how to customize your campaign so you can successfully incorporate your product or service into the context of Black Friday-Cyber Monday. Here, you’ll be thinking about your target audience and how you’re going to appeal to them. And not only in terms of the deals themselves, but also their presentation – from enticing copy to eye-catching visuals.
Whether your customers are more traditional or like to be surprised, you have to make your customers feel that you as a business have done your homework. Black Friday-Cyber Monday is wildly anticipated time of the year that’s specifically crafted for shopping, so everything needs to go as smoothly as possible.
Doing overviews of what everyone is doing each year can prove to be very useful, but if you haven’t got the time for it, be sure to subscribe to our blog and let us do the research for you. You can also keep this article bookmarked for when you’re running low on ideas and need a little marketing inspiration.
Now that the biggest sales challenge of the year is behind us, take a quick five-minute breather. But don’t sit down for too long, because there are two major holiday season highlights left this year, and they’re approaching faster than Santa’s sleigh – Christmas and New Year’s. But don’t worry, we’ve got lots of goodies in store to help you prepare, starting with the Printful Holiday Guide for 2016.