Black Friday needs no introduction. It has become the largest commercial sales days in the United States where retailers use the day as a precursor to a successful retail holiday season. While Black Friday sales began in brick and mortar setting – with deal-seeking customers queueing up in the wee hour of the morning – the shopping frenzy is shifting to online. 2017 became a record year for Black Friday eCommerce sales, and we expect this trend to continue for 2018.
Given the growing competitiveness around Black Friday online marketing, we’ve compiled this Black Friday Wiki Guide as a handy reference to many key resources you need to make the most out of the upcoming holiday.
The Black Friday Wiki contains 3 parts:
Black Friday Trivia
When is Black Friday?
Black Friday is an informal name for the Friday following Thanksgiving in the USA. Since the 1950s, it’s been regarded as the beginning of the country’s Christmas shopping season. This year, Black Friday 2018 is on November 23rd. The commercial Black Friday period as we know it today extends from Black Friday thru Cyber Monday, the following Monday.
How did Black Friday originate?
The term Black Friday wasn’t always associated with exciting sales. In the 1800’s Black Friday was used in reference to stock market crash in 1869.
Our current term of Black Friday in reference to the Friday after Thanksgiving came about in the 1950s in Philadelphia. The police in the city used the term to describe the chaos ensued when hordes of shoppers flooded the city in advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on Saturday every year.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, which day is the busiest?
Black Friday is by far the biggest in terms of total retail sales. In terms of eCommerce sales though, Cyber Monday is ahead, hitting $6.59 billion, followed by Black Friday with $5.03 billion and thanks with $2.87 billion online sales in 2017.
However, Black Friday wasn’t officially claimed to be the busiest shopping day of the year until 2001. Before that, it was the Saturday before Christmas.
Impact of Black Friday on eCommerce
Let the numbers tell the story
A greater number of people are opting to skip the long queues in the cold Thanksgiving weather for the comfort of online shopping at home. Online sales growth year over year remains in double-digits since the early 2000s. In 2017, in-store shoppers have taken a 4% dip from the previous year. At the same time, Black Friday weekend hit a record with over $7.9 billion online sales in the USA, a near 18% increase from the year before.
Black Friday is by no means just a US phenomenon. This concept has made way across the world as retailers in Europe and Asia turn it into another way to boost sales. Similarly, Black Friday has also lengthened its duration beyond the original definition as retailers seek to extend the magic of the occasion – often spilling over to the weekend after or even into a whole week.
In Germany, for example, Black Friday and Cyber, Monday sales promotions added around €1.7B to retailers revenue. In Greece, where the retail economy is starting to rebound, there’s an interesting phenomenon where sales are extended to the week leading up to and following Black Black day in order for businesses to maximize its effect.
Black Friday eCommerce insights
- Millennials shopper makes up 45% of the Black Friday consumer base. This segment of the population is also 4x more likely to shop online compared to the Boomers.
- Not only are there more consumers shopping, but an average consumer also spends 3.7x more on average on Black Friday orders compared to average order value made on a typical day.
- Majority of the online orders (51%) are made on desktops where consumer have more convenient experience comparing multiple sites and completing checkout forms. Yet, mobile usage has been rising steadily year over year.
- There are a few peaks observed for online shopping on Black Friday. Specifically, early morning (midnight thru 1 AM), mid-day (12 PM thru 2 PM) and evening (10 PM to 11 PM). This pattern corresponds to the retailer’s promotion schedule as well as lunch hours or after work when consumers are free to browse online.
- Nearly 24% of the online traffic on Black Friday are returning visitors. This suggests that many consumers have a targeted shopping list and have done their brand research ahead of time. Hence, it’s essential to market your brand/product much earlier to the Black Friday.
- Along similar lines, the best converting channels on Black Friday day are direct (organic) and email marketing.
For more detailed insights on Black Friday 2017 including top eCommerce verticals and average discounts, check out the ContactPigeon’s report.
How should eCommerce retailers prepare for Black Friday?
Planning is the most important contributor to a successful season. In marketing, you need to start by determining the types of promotion to run for Black Friday and market them over the right channels to reach your target audience. Maintaining smooth operations during this hectic period is also vital in ensuring excellent customer experience.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. – Benjamin Franklin
Resources on Black Friday marketing planning
- A step by step guide to get ready for Black Friday & Cyber Monday.
- Aside from your holiday promotional newsletters, what type of email campaigns can help you maximize the occasion? See this email marketing holiday checklist.
- For holiday marketing ideas from experts, read the Ecommerce Survival Guide for Black Friday 2018.
- Need some inspiration for Black Friday email subjects? Find it in our updated post on Email Subject Lines for Black Friday.
- Ready for something a bit fancier? Check out the top Black Friday Marketing Automation Scenarios you need for the holidays.
- Finally, whatever marketing campaign you’re running for Black Friday will draw a surge of traffic to your site, a portion of which will not convert during Black Friday. However, there are ways that you can capitalize on this increased holiday traffic to grow sales long after the holiday season.
Resources on how to survive the Holiday Season operationally
- Logistics such as shipping and fulfillment can be a source of anxiety for most eCommerce retailers during the holiday shopping period. Here are some great tips, strategies and shipping deadlines for 2018.
- With the surge in orders and online visitors, your customer service teams may be overwhelmed with inquiries and, goodness forbids, complaints. See how to prepare for them in advance with tips for handling Customer Service during the holiday rush!
Our closing advice…
With online sales predicted to reach a new peak in 2018, eCommerce retailers who are best equipped with the latest trends and tactics – such as marketing automation, personalization, and automated bots – are more likely to gain the best competitive position in the coming season!
Is there anything else you’d like to learn about and would like to be included in on Black Friday Wiki? Drop us a line and let us know.