Black Friday: Stand out from your competition through relevance

Black Friday (and Cyber Monday), a trend originating in the USA which has reached the level of global phenomenon. Customers expect to make the bargain of the year. In turn, businesses expect a peak in revenue over the weekend as a start into the holiday season. In 2015 customers spent about 68 Billion Dollars in the US alone. 

Yet the marketing landscape is changing. Whereas businesses were focusing on customer loyalty in the past decade, there’s a shift happening towards relevance. At the same time, neither do customers want to miss out on discounts, nor retailers on the high revenue. We have looked into the matter and offer you five insights into how to combine unbeatable offers and relevance at the same time.

What date is Black Friday in 2019?

Black Friday 2019 Black Friday is on 29th November 2019. Accordingly, Cyber Monday is on 2nd December 2019.

Picture by Tatiana via

To business! 

As a retailer, whether online or in a physical store, you will not be able to avoid discounts when it comes to the big Black Friday business. So the question is not so much whether you should offer products at a discount, but rather how to get these offers to your customers. In the past, this would have been done through mass advertising. This method can work, but studies show that consumers tend to ignore impersonal advertising. Even ads placed on social media are often ignored or blocked via adblockers.

Use Data

Your customers provide you with a lot of data. They expect you to handle it discreetly. However, studies show that consumers are willing to give more personal data to a company if they receive a more personal service and perfectly tailored offers in exchange. In addition to the personal data that helps to contact your customers – a personal salutation can make a big difference – you can also use shopping behaviour. Discount certain products only for customers who have been interested in them before. Be creative.

Offer more than “just” a product

You will find strongly discounted products in almost every shop. If you want to stand out from your competitors, you have two options: either you reduce prices even more than everyone else. However, this reduces profits, and it appears that even a particularly favourable offer does not generate long-term customer loyalty. The second option is much more attractive: Offer added value that helps the customer. This could be insurance for a new smartphone that you give the customer for the first few months. Or a detailed consultation on the care and use of the product. Be creative. The reward: the added value ensures that the customer feels appreciated and is more inclined to buy from you in the future.

Pick up your customers in time

Since you are already using your customer data and also creating the appropriate, tailored offers, your customers also need to know that they exist. As we have mentioned above, mass advertising has lost much of its previous impact. This does not mean that you should completely abandon such measures, but combine them with a more personal approach. Inform your customers about your exclusive offers by e-mail or – even better – by text message on their smartphone. Send a personal discount code that takes effect on Black Friday. And don’t forget: a personal salutation can make all the difference. But don’t be too informal, that seems dubious. And combine different channels to reach as many customers as possible. Don’t start your campaign too early – no one will be interested in it in March. But don’t start on Thursday evening either, as you won’t reach enough customers.

Segment the day

If you are looking for promising marketing strategies for Black Friday, you will often find the advice to only have one hour for certain offers and then another. This works particularly well in online trading. Time pressure increases the probability that a customer will make a spontaneous purchase decision. Whether you change offers every hour or at intervals of your choice is of course up to you. But how do you link these short offers to the topic of relevance? On the one hand, you can point out current (or upcoming) deals to your customers. On the other you can tailor such short offers to your customers – and then point them out again by text message. 

Play with the customers’ curiosity

Another advice often found on the Internet is to use scratch cards (or an online version of them) because few people can resist such a mystery. However, these ideas have been around for quite some time and are probably used by many. Alternatively, you can also send a text message with discount codes with different values – about 15 to 50% – that your customers can redeem. But only at the very end do they find out how much discount they get. Just make sure that the discounts are not too small, so that customers with a smaller win are not frustrated. You can also offer surprise gifts at checkout or mystery bundles.

Let the Black Friday revenue commence

Being relevant means giving the customer added value, personal appreciation and a sense of exclusivity. You can use these approaches to differentiate yourself from other companies, not only but especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On this special day, let your customers know that he is more important to you than the money he leaves with you – the more personal, the better. The chances are quite high that he will stay with you in the future. Perhaps as early as the Christmas business that begins shortly afterwards.

Trademark law on the subject of Black Friday

In Germany, the term “Black Friday” has been registered as a word mark at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) since 2013. Currently, the trademark owner is Super Union Holdings Limited in Hong Kong. However, the DPMA has decided to terminate the trade mark. The trade mark proprietor has filed an appeal against this decision. The Federal Patent Court has been examining this appeal since the end of September 2019. Current prognoses expect at least a partial revocation of the trade mark, but the judgement is still pending (as of 05.11.2019). And even after a judgement there is still the possibility of taking the dispute to higher instances. Experts report (German site) that the registration of the term as a word mark was done from the outset with abusive intent – and should not have happened at all due to the general usage of the term. 

Black Friday GmbH, based in Vienna, holds the sole main licence for the word mark and grants sublicences to customers. However, these are often expensive. Anyone who uses the term in a trademark way without having acquired a sublicense risks reprimands, according to reports up to 4000 Euro. Even if these could be dropped this year due to the BPatG’s pending ruling, we must therefore advise against an explicit use of the term in advertising. However, alternative formulations or modified spellings make it possible to circumvent this. 

Best regards
Your sms77 team

Header picture by Usis via

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