Since its recent import from the US, Black Friday has not found universal favour in the UK. Last year’s sale event was famously the cause of fighting in dozens of stores, with many arrests being made as security guards struggled to cope with the ‘Black Friday Brawls’.
This year, retailers such as Asda and Lidl have been vocal in their anti-Black Friday stance, though Asda is still running heavy discounting throughout the festive period. There is a much more important reason behind eschewing Black Friday than wanting to reduce civic disturbances though. Simply, it does not make sense from a marketing point of view.
The idea behind Black Friday is to encourage shoppers to buy en masse and doesn’t necessarily hold long term value for brands. Many of the sales involve dramatically slashing prices of electrical goods like TVs and fridge-freezers, and it’s hard to see how that will inspire brand loyalty.
So, rather than the traditional Black Friday approach of “pile it high and sell it cheap”, brands and retailers should be focusing on ways to build their relationship with customers, for example by offering loyalty reward cards or giving shoppers gift cards with their purchases. This encourages genuine loyalty without devaluing the brand.
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