By: Simon Dring, Head of Retail Insights, Mention Me
Black Friday has long been established in the festive shopping calendar, but for many luxury brands it’s seen as an event to steer clear of. It’s not hard to see why – mass discounting, shopping frenzies and media coverage of people fighting on the shop floor aren’t what you’d traditionally associate with ‘luxury’.
But avoiding the biggest event in the retail calendar means missing out on significant profit – both in the short and long-term. Years of heavy Black Friday promotions have trained people to go shopping during that period and gear up for the festive season. Whether you embrace it or not, your brand needs to be ready to take advantage of the increased traffic that Black Friday brings.
And despite what you may think, Black Friday is about much more than discount bins. With the right approach, it’s a major opportunity to strengthen your relationships with customers and acquire new ones – without a discount code in sight.
It also offers significant benefits that extend long beyond the day itself. An effective Black Friday strategy can drive sustainable revenue, strengthen your brand reputation, and bolster customer relationships well into the new year.
Motivate your customers to tell their friends – people similar to them, with shared aspirations, needs and spending habits – about your brand, and you can reach target shoppers in a way that lands. 17% of referrals among our luxury clients convert into new customers – and this is likely to be significantly higher as people search out good deals this Black Friday.
Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior and Selfridges are among the luxury retailers that have put their own twist on Black Friday over recent years to great effect. Here are my top three tips for how you can do the same.
- Keep it luxurious
Like all good marketing, Black Friday has to feel authentic. Don’t compromise your work building a premium brand on the other 364 days of the year to drive extra sales on just one.
Explore what ‘luxury’ means to your target shoppers, then incorporate it into every element of your promotion. An impeccably designed campaign will do more harm than good if it’s promoting slashed prices; a luxurious giveaway won’t get noticed if it looks too much like all the other Black Friday sales. Make sure everything from your offer to copy and design reflects your luxury brand positioning in a way that’s impossible to miss.
And keep things feeling luxurious both on and offline. Transform your website and brick-and-mortar stores into sanctuaries from the Black Friday noise and chaos elsewhere. You’ve likely adapted to be online-first during the pandemic (if you weren’t already). Mirror the experience of browsing in-store with invite-only sections of the website, personalised content and exclusive access to certain collections. Aid product discovery with promotions and free samples, and make it easy for customers to try on products from the comfort of their homes.
- Think long-term
Extend your Black Friday campaign throughout cyber week – if not longer – to take full advantage of consumer appetite. If you operate internationally, this will also help you tap into markets where Black Friday isn’t as established (yet).
You should also think about how your Black Friday campaign fits strategically with your wider festive objectives, whether that’s to move stock before new ranges come in, or maximise your sales across the whole season.
This approach can also reduce the sense of hysteria that other brands count on to boost sales. Instead allowing shoppers to make considered purchases and perceive your brand with a sense of calm from a chaotic market.
- Focus on incentives, not discounts
Black Friday is ultimately about value for consumers. If you’re a high-end brand (with high prices to match), your customers are likely more interested in exclusive rewards than discounts. Experiment with what gets their attention. Are they more motivated by free gifts or VIP access to new collections? By exclusive event guest lists or limited edition bundles? These are all examples of incentives that can excite your customers without tarnishing your hard-earned luxury image. Play around with what compels shoppers to buy, then ramp it up until it’s too good to refuse (while keeping within your margins, of course).
You can also experiment with segmenting your customers and serving Black Friday content most likely to resonate with each one. Your biggest spenders may be more interested in charity donations or limited edition gift sets, for example, while your entry-level shoppers jump at the chance to claim free engraving or gift wrapping.
If you do decide to pursue the more traditional discount-based approach, you could experiment with offering it only to a specific cohort of shoppers, or with varying the level of discount based on the cohort’s AOV.
Even for the most sceptical of luxury marketers, Black Friday is an unmissable opportunity. Instead of seeing it as an exclusively discount-driven event, see it as the perfect chance to reinforce your brand, acquire high-quality customers, and start the festive season as you mean to go on.