Seven Black Friday Strategies to Boost Sales and Enhance Your Brand

October 12, 2023 - 11 minutes read

Technology, foresight, and creativity are among the keys to Black Friday marketing success.


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Inventory management software is the key to streamlining your inventory tracking, product listings, and forecasting as you prepare for the biggest online and in-person shopping event of the year.

For decades, what was formerly known as “the day after Thanksgiving” has marked the official start of the holiday shopping season and the biggest sales and marketing event of the year for retailers. Philadelphia police officers in the 1950s coined the term ‘Black Friday’ to describe hordes of shoppers flooding the streets during Thanksgiving weekend—and the name stuck.  

With online shopping continuing to supplant market share from brick-and-mortar stores, is Black Friday still relevant? Yes!

In fact, E-commerce and online shopping have only broadened the opportunities to lure and retain Black Friday shoppers. The symbolic and financial importance of this day call for a higher level of strategic sales and marketing tactics to position yourself for success.

Are you ready to boost your bottom line with a bit of Black Friday Brilliance? Then read on.


Why Black Friday is Still Important

The heyday of brick and mortar shopping has given way to a mix of online and in-person shopping in recent years. The perception of Black Friday as a one-day circus when shoppers camped in front of retail establishments and crowded aisles to fight over deals has been diluted. With the advent of Cyber Monday in 2005, online sales have grown to approximate brick-and-mortar sales figures for Thanksgiving weekend.

Although the conditions have changed, Black Friday remains an important day for retailers to capitalize on the buyer frenzy and put their best foot forward, both online and in-store. The many reasons Black Friday should remain an object of attention and strategic vision include:

  • Buyer volume: Black Friday reached 72.9 million consumers in 2022, with year over year increases observed in both online and foot traffic.
  • Brand exposure: Black Friday allows you to maintain visibility in a crowded marketplace to promote brand recognition.
  • Inventory clearance: Special promotions and sales let you strategically deplete outdated or overstocked inventory.
  • Data collection: Sales data from Black Friday can inform your inventory management practices and help you establish sensible annual pricing strategies.

“You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.” Daniel Keys Moran


How to Stand Out in the Crowd

Participation in Black Friday sales and events is not enough. Standing out in a sea of Black Friday contenders means leveraging the best omni-channel sales tools, data analysis, and seasonal marketing strategies. Of course, a sprinkling of creativity never hurts either. The variables to consider as you create a Black Friday campaign that cuts through the noise include:

  • Multi-channel commerce: Develop a campaign that includes online and offline elements to widen your audience.
  • Pricing: Analyze price points carefully to attract customers without incurring losses.
  • Creative content: Eye-catching visuals and unique slogans can capture shoppers’ attention both online and in person.
  • Search Engine Optimization: Pay attention to keyword selection and placement in your online content to target the right audience and improve your SEO.
  • Customer retention: Consider your long-term strategy and the ways Black Friday can become the beginning of a long and successful buyer journey.


Black Friday Sales Campaign Tips

While there are no perfect Black Friday tactics that apply to every business, these seven effective sales and marketing tips will help you maximize short and long term profits while creating a memorable experience for customers:

1. Create a sense of urgency

This tried and true marketing strategy is one of the oldest tricks in the proverbial book, but the time constraints of a legitimate one-day event make Black Friday a perfect opportunity to maximize the value of urgency in your campaign. Steep markdowns for a short duration (1 hour or less) also allow you to discount unwanted inventory and establish brand recognition simultaneously.

Additional Black Friday marketing campaign elements that create a sense of urgency include:

  • Early access promotions that offer better deals to established customers.
  • Limited quantity promotions that display depleting inventory levels in real time.
  • Tiered discounts featuring prices that gradually increase over time.

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2. Sneak peeks

There is a reason why Black Friday shoppers once (rather unsafely) rushed department store entryways at the break of dawn and fought their way down the aisles. Unveiling a new product a few days before Black Friday or providing previews of special promotions creates positive buzz and builds anticipation. Customers also appreciate the opportunity to plan and budget their money based on the best available deals. 

Inventory management software can help you decide which products to include in sneak peek promotions based on availability and popularity, and give you the real-time visibility you need to ensure all orders can be fulfilled.

3. VIP discounts

Another well-worn marketing strategy that is particularly effective on Black Friday is the VIP (very important person) discount. Just who qualifies as a VIP is open to interpretation, but loyalty clubs and email distribution lists are two of the commonly used segments.

For a VIP campaign to be successful, the customer must believe they are privy to discounts or early-bird specials that leave other buyers out. Availing products to VIPs only, sending out special promo codes for online shopping, and opening up extended shopping hours are some of the ways this preferential status can be demonstrated.

4. Free shipping and free products

Black Friday shoppers are looking for unbeatable deals, and nothing conveys value in the hearts and minds of consumers more than the word ‘free’. A survey by the National Retail Federation found that free shipping was the influencing factor most commonly cited by Black Friday shoppers.

Free products or services can be so enticing that they often lead to increased sales even without any real savings for the customer. Examples of this Black Friday marketing strategy at work include:

  • Buy one, get one free promotions.
  • Buy now, pay later plans.
  • Free items (or shipping) for the first X customers.

5. Leverage social media

Social media is now part of the marketing mainstream, and Black Friday promotions should be no exception. The breadth of available social media channels allow you to promote events in advance, send sneak peeks to followers, and generate an organic buzz for your offerings. You can also leverage social media on the big day with live streams to capture the action or respond to customer questions in real-time.

6. Follow up with shoppers

Black Friday can be the beginning of a valued customer relationship rather than a one-and-done event. Each new sale is an opportunity to personally engage with a new customer and increase their lifetime value.

How do you go about this? It’s important to include a mailing list option in your sales channel to capture as many customer email addresses as possible. This will allow you to send personalized thank you emails, ask for reviews, and include the customer in future specials and promotions. This year’s first time buyer could be next year’s VIP.

7. Leverage your inventory management software

Effective inventory management is the unsung hero behind every successful Black Friday sales campaign. Without the benefit of real-time inventory tracking, multichannel integration, and effective forecasting, a can’t miss Black Friday deal can quickly turn sour for both the buyer and seller.

Inventory management software also provides an effective way to analyze data so that campaigns can be adapted quickly, allowing profits and inventory depletion goals to be optimized.

Finding inventory in the backroom is not always a joy.” Doug McMillon


Black Friday: Final Thoughts

Online shoppers spent a record $9.12 billion on Black Friday of 2022, with high inflation and other economic pressures heightening the importance of discounts and flexible payment plans for consumers. This incredible figure represents an undeniable opportunity for retailers who manage to stand out in the crowd.

It’s no surprise to discover perennial Black Friday winners also maintain sophisticated inventory and order management systems capable of adjusting on the spot, but the spoils are no longer limited to the top dogs. Inventory management software allows businesses of all sizes to turn a frenzied one-time event into a steady stream of loyal customers.  

Our inventory management software takes the worry and guesswork out of order fulfillment on Black Friday and throughout the year. Schedule a consultation today and let our solution experts help you discover the unseen benefits of effective inventory management.