What is Black Friday? Tips to maximize sales during the holiday

What is Black Friday? + 5 tips to maximize sales during the holiday

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Black Friday: the busiest shopping day of the year and the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Brace the traffic and the crowds for deals you won’t see anywhere else, on any other day of the year, like a giant TV for 70% off or unbeatable bundles at all your favorite stores. 

When you’re on the other side of the equation, Black Friday can be one of the most important sales days of the year for your business. Developing your Black Friday strategy early is key to getting the most out of this colorful yearly event. 

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is widely regarded as the biggest shopping day of the year. In the United States, 72.9 million people shopped at brick-and-mortar retailers on Black Friday in 2022. 

person holding up a smartphone toward a Black Friday sale sign

Source via Unsplash

Black Friday is often considered to be the first “official” day of the holiday shopping season. Its roots are in the United States, as it’s the day that immediately follows American Thanksgiving. However, Black Friday is now observed across the globe. In addition to being the first day of the holiday shopping season, it’s the first day of Cyber Week, a week of seasonal online deals that includes Cyber Monday. Among the days of Cyber Week, Black Friday ranks as the busiest shopping day. As a whole, the holiday shopping season accounts for an average of 20% or more of many retailers’ yearly revenue. 

When is Black Friday 2023?

Black Friday 2023 will be on Friday, November 24th. 

Black Friday vs Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two observances that “kick-off” the holiday shopping season. However, there are a few key differences to keep in mind as you prepare your business for these events:

Black Friday predates Cyber Monday by decades. While the name’s origins aren’t definitively known, the generally accepted timeline is that the phrase was first used in a 1951 edition of Factory Management and Maintenance journal to describe the common practice of workers calling in sick on the Friday after Thanksgiving in order to have a four-day weekend. The first instance of the term “Black Friday” referring to that same Friday as a busy shopping day appeared in the following years, and by the 1980s, it had stuck. 

crowds of people in a shopping mall

Source via Unsplash

Black Friday also predates Cyber Monday every year. While Cyber Monday is firmly the Monday that follows American Thanksgiving, some shoppers—and retailers—begin Black Friday festivities on Thursday evening (Thanksgiving day for Americans). 

Like Cyber Monday, Black Friday has taken root in countries across the globe. Today, retailers offer up steep discounts and other deals to ring in the holiday season on Black Friday. 

Woman next to a paper gift bag with holiday colors

Perhaps the biggest difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is where they take place. As its name implies, Cyber Monday is the biggest e-commerce shopping day of the year. Black Friday, in contrast, traditionally takes place at brick-and-mortar retailers. Although shoppers can find plenty of Black Friday deals online, the holiday has its roots in the in-store shopping experience, and many retailers play to this by offering in-store-only discounts and making Black Friday shopping an immersive in-store event. 

Preparing your business for Black Friday

Order more packaging

Order more packaging now for Black Friday. If you’re anticipating higher-than-average sales numbers, make sure every one of those sales goes home in branded packaging. Order bags, boxes, packing paper and any other types of packaging your store uses. 

A table with custom packaging boxes for the holidays

You can even use Black Friday as an opportunity to use limited edition packaging. This is one way to make Black Friday special and memorable, even if it’s as simple as a black bag instead of your regular one.

VistaPrint Tip

Explore custom packaging from VistaPrint and get your business ready for Black Friday and all the upcoming holidays! 

Develop a crowd control plan

Crowd control is crucial for Black Friday. 

If your store can normally accommodate 50 people at a time and 200 show up on Black Friday, you’re going to have a problem if you don’t have a plan. Determine a realistic projection for the number of people you expect to visit the store using previous years’ data and any other helpful information, like data from the plaza where your store is located. Then, develop a strategy for managing a larger-than-average crowd, like creating a queue outside the shop’s front door, and adding additional checkout lanes. This will make it possible for in-store shoppers to check out via your app and increase the number of salespeople on the floor. 

Make your Black Friday plans known far and wide

Ordering more packaging and creating a crowd control plan will be for naught if people don’t make your store a Black Friday stop. Start marketing your Black Friday sales early—as in, just after Halloween. Make them known far and wide, on your website, in your store, on social media, in your emails—tell the world early and often.

5 tips to maximize sales during Black Friday

Create an immersive shopping experience

No website can recreate the feeling of being in an actual shop.

As we stated above, although there are plenty of online Black Friday sales to be found (and if they make sense for your brand, absolutely lean into them!), Black Friday is traditionally an in-store shopping day. Think of the most well-known images of Black Friday: long lines of shoppers camping out in store parking lots in the wee hours of the morning, clutching thermoses of hot coffee as they wait for the store to open its doors.

Two hands reaching for an ice cream cone

Make it worth shoppers’ while to visit your store instead of shopping online (or going somewhere else). If you tend to attract those early-morning shoppers, offer breakfast and hot coffee to fuel them up for a day of deals. If your products include consumables, offer in-store sampling on Black Friday. You can even take this a step further with demonstrations and fun activities like suggested pairings. 

Other ideas include having in-store entertainment, like a DJ or tarot card reader. However you choose to deliver a unique in-store experience, the goal is to make it worthwhile for shoppers to trek all the way out to your location and deal with the inherent stresses of Black Friday, like traffic and parking challenges, to spend their time and money in your store. 

VistaPrint Tip

Deck the halls for Black Friday with custom banners and other in-store signage.

Offer exclusive items and bundles

Black Friday is a great day to unveil new products because everybody’s looking at your brand. If new product drops are part of your Black Friday sales strategy this year, tease at the reveals in the weeks leading up to it on social media. 

product packaging design for essential oils

You can also offer Black Friday-exclusive product bundles and gifts for specific purchases. For example, let’s say you sell high-end cookware. A Black Friday bundle for your brand could be a free spatula with every cookware set purchased. Or you can offer a gift for each minimum purchase, like a free garlic press for every purchase over $100. No matter how you offer Black Friday deals, do it in a way that makes your brand enticing and makes Black Friday an event, rather than just another shopping day. 

Offer deals on more than products

Who said Black Friday deals can only be for tangible products? 

If you offer memberships, loyalty clubs or any other type of service, make those part of your Black Friday strategy. For example, you can offer a yearly membership for 50% off or offer two-for-one deals on the services you provide. Don’t neglect this category; a customer who gets a great deal on a membership or service is a customer who’s likely to continue buying from your brand. 

Embrace omnichannel shopping

Limited quantities of steeply discounted big-ticket items are a hallmark of Black Friday. In the past, this meant hordes of aggressive shoppers crowding these items and duking it out to be the one who ultimately gets one of these few prizes. Today, there’s a better way to handle hot-ticket items: enabling buyers to stake their claims on your website or app.

pink neon sign that says “App Pick Up”]

Source via Unsplash

By offering the opportunity for buyers to make Black Friday-exclusive purchases online and then pick them up in-store, you can build hype in the days leading to Black Friday and get people in the door. 

Build hype

Everybody knows when Black Friday is. It’s the fourth Friday of November. Your brand can build on this anticipation with things like countdown clocks, product and deal reveals throughout the month and featuring user-generated and influencer content to get people hyped for the big day. Current, on-trend marketing strategies like these keep your brand at the top of buyers’ minds, which increases sales on Black Friday and beyond.

VistaPrint Tip

Make social media your #1 channel for building hype. Organic posts to advertise sales and unveil exclusive items are completely free for you and can draw in a ton of engagement and ideally, sales!

Get the most out of Black Friday this year

Black Friday is just the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Ride the retail wave through the end of the calendar year by building your best marketing strategy now

To help you out with that, we’re offering some amazing Black Friday deals on all your print needs. Check them out now and dazzle your fanbase with beautiful branding this Black Friday!