On 27th November, retailers around the world will face an onslaught of shoppers through their doors and on their websites. Black Friday — and its online cousin Cyber Monday — have become retail fixtures, in the USA and around the globe. In the US alone last year, this day of discounts and special offers accounted for over $7B in online sales.

However, the events of 2020 could make this one even bigger. The combination of limits on public gatherings and cash-strapped consumers could mean that we see longer queues and a bigger chunk of sales moving online, rather than the traditional shopping frenzies that we’ve come to associate with the event.

PENSO’s CEO Con Frantzeskos appeared on Ticker TV where he discussed some of the Do’s and Don’ts:


  • Give a good impression: Black Fridays tend to attract more people who are “in the buying mood”. There is a good chance you are going to get customers visiting your site for the first time. Give them a good impression of your website, brand and business and try and turn them from a customer to a client.
  • More than discounts: As much as there’s a perception that Black Friday is all about discounts, it’s not. If you solely offer discounts, you’ll attract “promo pigs” – people who look for the lowest price, suck your margin and move on. You’ll erode your margin terribly; no margin, no mission. Drive sales with exclusivity, urgency, access, value and price.
    • Exclusivity: Offer exclusive deals, e.g., “Black Friday Exclusive Offer: As a special customer, you get…”
    • Urgency: “Black Friday Hourly Offer: For the next hour only…”
    • Access: “Black Friday Only Product: Only available here…”
    • Value: “Black Friday Value Bundle”
    • Price: “30% today only.”
  • Flag in advance: Flag some hero offers/products in advance and even ask customers what type of deals they might like in advance.
  • Smart Bundles: Offer complementary products or accessories with all purchases, and upsell from a product to a range of products.
  • Capture Data: Capture as much data on your visitors as possible. Even if they don’t buy from you, you might be able to understand what they like, you might remarket to them in the long term, and these visitors may help you better enrich your lookalike audiences.
  • Create a value exchange: Offer discounts or special access if the potential customer does something in return: “share on social media”, “enter your email address”, “invite five friends”.
  • Clever discounting: At the heart of Black Friday is the appeal of incredibly cheap items. But beware of eroding your current and future profits by selling too many discount items that will stop your customers from buying from you in the future at full margin. Think about some smarter ways of discounting, including conditional discounts, buy three get one free, and even test some discounts to measure optimal profits.
  • “Free” drive responses: A $50 product with free shipping will sell more than a $45 product with $5 shipping. “Free” drives irrational responses – so consider what you might make “free” for customers to drive irrational sales volumes.
  • Use Promo Codes: Promotional codes are an effective way of giving affiliates and partners “ownership” over your promotions. They also allow you to track the effectiveness of those partners.
  • Think about Christmas gifts: Encourage bulk buying, family buying or staggered payment buying.
  • Don’t spend too much effort promoting deals to your existing customers – especially those that are your high-frequency purchasers. These customers will most likely find you anyway, and all you’ll end up doing is giving away margin to purchases that would have already happened. Instead, focus on reaching new audiences.
  • Don’t discount everything: For many people, there will be a perception that you have discounted because it’s “Black Friday”. Make references to discounts or lowest price without necessarily discounting everything in your store.
  • Don’t send emails to customers who recently bought a product, waving that same discounted item in their face – it makes them feel bad and trains customers to only buy from you on discount.
  • Don’t blow all your deals on Black Friday. Save some for Cyber Monday. You may even be able to get the same customer to come back again and buy even more.
  • Don’t think that just because you’re not a retailer of goods that you can’t offer Black Friday Deals. If you have vouchers, gift cards or pre-payments – offer them up!
  • Don’t forget mobile experience: 40% of Black Friday sales happen via mobile phones, and Google rewards businesses who have better mobile sites with better search results.
  • Don’t forget to tell the world about it in advance. Reach new customers by promoting your business everywhere. A good measure should be that the vast majority of people buying from you should be new customers; otherwise, you’ve just given your profits away to existing customers for no benefit.
  • Don’t put the hottest selling items on sale: there’s no need to give away your margin for volume.


  • Sign up for accounts for the stores you’re shopping at, and pre-fill your delivery and payment info (if possible) to reduce your time in the checkout process. You may also get exclusive early access if you sign up now.
  • Shop around! Don’t get sucked into the hype; make sure you look around at other websites. If one site is discounting a particular product, there’s a good chance others will also.
  • Write a list before you start – Have a list of only what you want/need before you get lured by the sales. Sticking to this list will mean you won’t have buyers regret and end up with stuff you didn’t need.
  • Remember there’s always Monday – If you didn’t find the deals you were after on Friday, wait until Cyber Monday; you may get that bargain,
  • Use your laptop/desktop – In many cases, the Mobile shopping experience can be slow and restrictive compared to the experience of a widescreen browser and multiple tabs. Sadly, as most retailers think “desktop first” you’ll probably find it easier to shop and shop around with a keyboard, widescreen and mouse/trackpad at your disposal.
  • Understand the returns policies – Some retailers will void their standard returns policies on sales items. Make sure you understand your rights before committing and make sure you are satisfied with the consequences if you end up not getting what you want.
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