Friday, November 27, 2015

Marketing Tricks To Learn From Black Friday

It's BLACK FRIDAY, which means that thousands will be already up and out of the house shopping for deals by the time this post hits the web. One of the largest retail days of the year, Black Friday offers opportunities to score some really great deals. It also offers up the opportunity to recognize some key marketing tricks, which you can leverage for your business at other times of the year. Try to see if you can recognize how the most successful retailers utilize these and brainstorm how you might use them to help your own business.


"While supplies last." If something becomes available only in limited quantity, consumers will feel a sense that it is more urgent to buy that item. If they do not make that purchase, they might miss out on the deal. Scarcity can also be used to create a sense of exclusivity, where only a select few can obtain a particular item. Those that manage to purchase it have their status elevated by ownership.

Time Limits

You might see these listed as "Doorbusters" or some other name to reference an even more specific time limit on a deal. Perhaps a particular sale is only available from 8:00 a.m. until noon. The idea of this one inspires that same sense of urgency, but it also plays more specifically to a timing factor. Appropriate use can create sales in a specified window that might not have materialized otherwise. This also explains some of the crazy purchases that happen in auctions, like eBay, where the time pressure encourages non-standard buying behavior.

Loss Leaders

Your big discounts on Black Friday? They are probably loss leaders. While the strategy of pricing some items at incredibly low or negative margins to get people in the store to encourage additional sales generally works best at brick-and-mortar retail outlets, some online retailers with wide varieties of products have been able to successfully utilize this strategy as well.

Companion Discounts

Similar to the loss leader, this strategy specifically targets items, so that you get a discount on product A if you also purchase product B. Driving additional sales of the non-discounted product is the primary objective, allowing a more commodity item to be sold at a reduced price when purchased together. The benefit of this strategy over pure loss leaders is that you avoid consumers who only buy the discounted items, but based on the ads I got in the newspaper this week, I don't think that particularly concerns the large retailers.

Feeding Frenzy

Done right, the combination of strategies creates a mad feeding frenzy of shopping today, or whenever these strategies are effectively employed. Even if the spike in sales only affects discounted products, the sheer volume of the transactions can boost a quarter with lagging profits. And when appropriately tied to other offers, it can lift transactions across the board.

What other marketing tactics have you seen in place to drive frantic buying behavior? How could you use them to boost your business? Leave me a comment and let me know. I'd love to hear your thoughts, unless you are out shopping for the big deals right now.

Image credit: KERBSTONE via Pixabay