Black Friday & Cyber Monday (BFCM) have arrived as a main UK shopping period- simultaneously kick starting the festive season and all its consumer grandeur. Yet from a marketing viewpoint, how did this cycle of commercialisation develop and through what tactical means or strategies are being used to entice consumers?

What is Black Friday & Cyber Monday? 

Oddly enough, the blending of these seemingly ordinary weekdays into one highly anticipated marketing weekend "for finding the best deals" has no British origin. The term 'Black Friday' began in Philadelphia, USA during the early 1960's as a term used by local police to describe the public disorder and heavy traffic congestion occurring after the Thanksgiving holiday. Ironically, police forces in Britain are faced with maintaining order on the infamous shopping days  - as evident by this vicarious tweet.

Fast forward several decades and 'Cyber Monday' began around 2005 as a digital marketing ploy to get consumers online and interacting with e-commerce retailers. These online retailers realised the huge potential in offering bargains to the digital community or those individuals that neglected to visit actual stores just days prior.

What are the marketing strategies? 

Landing Pages

For most retailers, this section of a website "offers insight into how prepared brands are from an SEO and strategy perspective". Landing pages are essentially the first place prospective customers view information and make purchasing decisions. The pages should be call to action (CTA) driven and with useful content that is easy to navigate. An example of this technique can be seen below with the home electronics retailer, Currys. 

Email and SMS 

With mass marketing being sent in rapid motion, getting the BFCM message actually delivered can be a tricky process - email and SMS can alleviate those pressures. These marketing technologies can segment the information, build suspense around a specific sale or product, and even be promoted across the other strategies mentioned. Just don't forget to have an optimised website to handle the follow up traffic. 

Visible Displays

During BFMC, this is particularly true as stores develop flashy display units - such as this external window display to lure customers inside the actual building. More so, the feeling of scarcity and limited time offers attached to these adverts relate with the psychological desires for people wanting more of something when there is less of an item.


Social Media

The potential reach that social media platforms offer during BFMC is nearly limitless. From live tweeting, contests shared on Instagram, or a humorous product or discount post on Facebook, brands are using their social media to connect with audiences on personal levels through using hashtags and viral content. Check out this Shopify article for further ways brands are capitalising on using social media this weekend. 

Key Takeaways

It's difficult to say which strategy yields the highest conversion rate or response from potential customers. A good rule is that brands have a mixed approach, plus develop additional tactics not mentioned. BFCM in the UK is a relatively new phenomenon but brings with it a vast amount of marketing potential.