The weekend after Thanksgiving is the Super Bowl of commerce. Deep discounts, big ad budgets and innovative tactics… for just a few intense days, shopping is as big as Jesus.
The Part and Sum team spent the holiday consuming deals, data and stuffing. Now, having recovered from our turkey-and-shopping hangover, we’ve put together a list of critical lessons, from Black Friday through Cyber Monday.
In principle, Small Business Saturday is brilliant: It’s a chance for indie retailers to differentiate themselves from the big-box crowd, build customer loyalty and engage with their communities. And there’s no reason not to participate with special Saturday discounts. But consider structuring your offers to include SBS and Black Friday, which—like it or not—is still one of the biggest shopping days of the year. While some customers might hold out to shop small the following day, reduced consumer acknowledgment of Small Business Saturday puts you at risk for losing out to Friday’s deals.
A Facebook comment posted to a promotional ad launched on SBS.
Google Trends - Since its launch in 2010, Small Business Saturday has decreased in popularity.
Google Trends - Compared to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, SBS is far less recognized by shoppers as a shopping holiday. (And if you think about it, this makes sense: Big-box stores and national chains plaster the internet with promotions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, whereas promotion for SBS comes from mom-and-pop shops with much smaller online footprints.)
If you want to avoid Black Friday altogether and reserve your discounts for SBS or Cyber Monday, consider creative solutions that will attract customers while reinforcing your brand’s personality. For example, you could offer a special gift with purchase, introduce a loyalty program (or give extra loyalty points with purchase), unlock a VIP shopping experience, invite customers to an in-store event, put a coveted item on pre-sale and so on. Whatever you choose, be sure to offer enticing discounts on SBS or Cyber Monday to help compensate for any losses incurred by non-participation in Black Friday.
If you’re planning to run a paid promotion, it’s best to start before Black Friday or Cyber Monday so your ads have time to optimize. Many retailers launch their ads before Thanksgiving, allowing them to test messaging, creative and budget allocation in order to get maximum ROI.
The difference a day makes.
Shopify’s 2018 Black Friday report.
Thanksgiving is a particularly good day for testing ads, since most people are at home with family, are not working and are often passively using mobile devices (when Uncle Joe starts talking politics, you’re going to reach for your phone to distract yourself). Presenting persuasive offers to audiences while they're at home for the holiday is also an opportunity to convince people to make purchases for their loved ones.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are high-volume shopping days, but keep in mind that they’re extremely competitive days, too. From an advertising standpoint, that means the cost per purchase can be higher than normal. Testing campaigns earlier in the week will enable you to achieve cheaper conversions while making sure that only the most profitable ads run on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.