Black Friday’s reputation just isn’t what it used to be. Gone are the days of camping in front of Best Buy at 4 A.M. to fight over the heavily discounted TVs, and with so many other opportunities to shop during the holiday season, this post-Thanksgiving tradition has grown increasingly lackluster. Not only that, but as more customers have become aware of the pitfalls of hyper-consumerism, they’re looking for companies that share the same values. Here are a few different ways for your company to approach Black Friday this upcoming season.
Part of the reason there has been distancing from Black Friday is due to growing concern about consumerism and companies' impact on the environment. Therefore, many companies have taken this day to give back to different causes. Consider Everlane, a clothing brand known for its transparent pricing, and their Black Friday Fund initiative, where they have pledged to donate $10 for every donation or purchase to various charities, including Oceana and Feeding America. The charities that companies have chosen to support don’t always have to be environmentally related; Kotn, a sustainable clothing brand, has donated all of its profits from Black Friday till the end of the month to build schools in Egypt.
While this might not always lead to increased sales, by standing by and acting upon your values, your customers are more likely to associate these initiatives with your company, increasing the chance that they’ll become lifelong supporters.
Raise Your Prices
If you’re a smaller company interested in giving back, but it isn’t as financially viable to donate your profits from this day, consider raising your prices for Black Friday. While this sounds counterintuitive, there is a twofold benefit here: firstly, by raising prices by just a dollar or two, you can donate that additional cost to a campaign of your choosing. On the other hand, sales often promote impulsive shopping, so this price addition supports the idea that customers should slow down their consumption and consider what is necessary for them to purchase.
Extend Sales to Encourage Conscious Consumption
The frantic nature of Black Friday doesn’t exactly lend itself to careful and deliberate shopping choices, which often leads to a lot of waste. Therefore, why not take the time to promote purposeful consumerism? Skincare companies like Allies of Skin and Deciem extend their sales throughout the entire month to allow their customers the time to research and stay informed on what they are buying. While on Black Friday, consumers are often impulsively shopping to make the most of a sale, having a whole month allows time for customers to choose and determine what they need mindfully. They can learn about different products, making their choices more conscious and educated.
Boycott Black Friday
Over the years, Black Friday has been accused of encroaching on Thanksgiving and overworking employees. The irony that such a frenetic shopping day should follow the day to be thankful isn’t lost on people. So, consider taking the day off instead of promoting sales on Black Friday. Outdoor gear brand REI has chosen to close all its doors and instead encourages customers to #OptOutside, even taking the extra step to continue to pay employees for the day off. Although they didn’t do it for the PR, the brand loyalty built among their community will last a lifetime.
Growing concerns about the sustainability of Black Friday have many consumers and companies reconsidering their approach. Consider making a statement and standing by your brand values. Showcase your company culture, demonstrate what is important, build up your community’s loyalty, and try something new this upcoming Black Friday.