You are more likely to get injured on the high street on Black Friday than any other shopping day during the year, so it comes as no surprise that ecommerce sites are becoming increasingly popular for shoppers to grab their annual bargains.

Black Friday is approaching, and with that in mind so are the campaigns and predictions. Who will slice the price of Apple products this year? Who will deliver the most bedazzling email campaign? 

The sale extravaganza began as an American store event on the Friday after Thanksgiving, where the most popular brands made outrageous discounts and attracted millions of shoppers who weren’t afraid to fight (sometimes literally!) for the cheapest products.

Today, Black Friday has turned into an online haven of discounts through social media, email marketing, SEO campaigns and enticing content that gives loyal and new customers alike the best deals out there. With even less people shopping on the high street this year due to COVID-19, it is expected that brands will be pushing their online deals more than ever. 

So why is there so much hype around the originally American phenomenon?

In short, people love a good deal.

Shoppers love to feel like they’re getting something that no one else can get. 

I will explain in this blog:

  • how discounts and deals are transferred in the consumer brain
  • my top tips and strategies for creating the best deal this year

I’ll also analyse what it is the consumer wants and more importantly, find out what makes a good Black Friday deal.

Any online marketing platform or campaign always triggers two important questions:

1) What does the consumer want?

2) How are you going to give the consumer what they want? 

The psychology behind Black Friday discounts

Usability and user testing tools are frequently used by marketers to find out what the user wants and what they are drawn to. Results pulled from these tools demonstrate recurring patterns in the user’s behaviour. 

Websites, campaigns and product displays can be presented in a way that makes the user more intrigued by an offer and more inclined to buy.  This can be through the colours used on screen, the amount and size of CTA’s (Call-To-Action’s) on the page, and the use of media on page. 

Basically, the more pressure a consumer feels to use up your exclusive and must-not-miss discount, the more likely they are to buy. This is why, in short, Black Friday is such a success. It is a demonstration of the process of the human brain in a consumer-driven society.

Consumers like to feel they’re getting a good deal and they respond well to time pressures and limited offers. Savvy marketers recognise this psychological need and use it to guide the way their discounts are placed on the website and the messaging used to promote them.

The language of sales

One example of psychological principles in action around sales is the use of language when promoting and explaining a sale.

Try asking your colleagues what they believe the better deal to be from the following examples:

Example 1)

  1. 20% off a product and then a further 20% off
  2. 40% off a product

Example 2)

  1. 25% off a £20 product
  2. £5 off a £20 product

From a consumer’s point of view myself, I would be easily convinced (without doing the mathematics) that A in both Example 1 & 2 would be giving me a better deal.

However, A & B give the consumer the exact same discount.

The wording used to describe a deal influences the perception of the value of the deal. This is well worth considering when putting together your own Black Friday deals.

This does not mean, however, that it is always the case that percentages are the most appealing presentation of a discount. This is especially not the case on Black Friday when there are immense discounts on gadgets and electrical items.

I’m not a psychologist, but if you sent out a ‘£500’ voucher to any products over £2000, it is likely you would get a higher response than offering your customers 25% off the same range of products.

For further information and case studies on this please read Yoast’s ‘The psychology of discounts’. 

Charm prices

The way we perceive the value of a deal is therefore influenced in part by the language used to describe it.

Another element of a ‘good’ deal is the price.

Now, this might seem obvious, but the numbers we use can have a real impact on how good a deal our customers perceive it to be.

There are certain numbers that entice the consumer into thinking they are getting an even better deal than they really are. This is, after all, why it is very popular to use ‘99’ in prices.

£399.99 looks like less money than £400.00. The consumer will be more inclined to buy a product with 9’s in the price.

So when creating your Black Friday deal, stay away from zeros and stick to 9’s.

This is all through association of numbers in the brain – how many times have you heard someone say something is £5 or £45 when actually it’s £5.99 or £45.99?

This is a long-standing marketing tactic and is why using 0.99p is still rife in sales today, so make sure you use it in your deals.

Something for nothing

It is a well known fact that everyone loves free stuff.

Whether it’s a free sample or a free month of coffee – consumers go crazy for a freebie.

Our consumer driven neurology means that we will go for the free stuff, even if the real discounts and better deals lie in spending a bit of money but saving more, the chances of us choosing the free stuff are higher. Not only this, but who wants to try and work out what 30% off from £135 is when there is a ‘Buy-One-Get-One-Free’ (BOGOF) offer in the SERP result below? 

Similarly, your customer will choose the two most expensive products and feel like they are getting a really good deal, which they are. But so are you.

The makings of a great deal.

So far in this paper, I’ve looked at the psychology behind Black Friday deals and the way we perceive the deal in front of us. Bear these principles in mind and your deals will have a much better chance of appealing to your audience – but remember, appealing to your audience also means knowing them well, so be sure not to rely on general deals but to craft something specific to the people you want to engage.

Impression tip: A great deal isn’t just about the discount you give. Take the time to get to know your audience and identify the products and deals that will appeal best to their needs, motivations and desires.

To go beyond that, I’m going to look now at the practicalities of a good Black Friday deal, with actionable tips for your business.

Making a great deal this Black Friday does not just concern the deal itself, but how you communicate this with your bargain savvy customers. Everyone likes to be rewarded for their loyalty and online shopping habits, and people want to get the best possible deal. Therefore the best discounts are those that make the consumer feel like they are receiving a unique offer that gives them discount on products that they usually buy.

Raise awareness through email marketing

The pandemic led to the closure of bricks and mortar stores for months, resulting in a huge increase in online shopping. Now that stores are starting to open again, it gives retailers even more of a reason to become even more competitive with their deals and offers. Why not get ahead of the game and start engaging with the increased amount of online shoppers through email campaigns.

This means that the competition of deals and offers will be rife, so why not get ahead of the game and start engaging with the online shopper through email campaigns. 

Create a buzz through pre-event emails

Do not take it for granted that your visitors know that you are participating in Black Friday this year. This is where you can utilise and put into practise your understanding of the psychology of pricing to create consumer driven email campaigns.

Start sending out emails no later than a month before Black Friday. This will then remind shoppers of the big event & you could already start giving some hints as to what offers you will be providing this year. 

The week leading up to Black Friday is optimum time to provide your customers with tasters and information about the exclusive deals you will be sharing on Black Friday. 

On-the-day email marketing

As I’ll explain in more detail later on, scarcity (or Fear of Missing Out, or as I call it, ‘FOMO’) marketing is a crucial aspect of Black Friday – this is when the shopper thinks products might run out so is more likely to buy. As your deals will be for one day only, you can use this strategy to your utmost advantage. 

Why not send emails to your customers on the day with statistics of how many products have been bought or statistics of how much money has been saved by your shoppers so far? Never miss an opportunity to target your emails and use cart history to influence the products you include in emails on the day. 

Abandoned cart campaigns

Across the internet there are millions of abandoned shopping carts.

Customers come to a site, browse the products, choose what they want, but don’t buy it. I’m pretty guilty of doing that myself.

But why does the shopper abandon their cart? There are plenty of possible reasons; perhaps they got distracted, they lost their internet connection, maybe just one pull factor was missing, or they were just comparing prices and found a better deal elsewhere.

So what is even better than giving out exclusive Black Friday discounts? Giving out discounts on the products that your customers were considering buying already!

There is a 208% higher conversion rate for targeted emails proving that targeted and tailored email marketing is incredibly important. Targeted emails are catered to the individual shopper and their shopping wishes and desires.

It’s very easy to send out mass emails telling your newsletter subscribers about your latest deals. Targeted emails are unique emails and are far less likely to be read than those that are matched to your customer’s interests and previous purchases. Personalised emails are another great way to entice your website visitors back and retain some customer loyalty.

Post event marketing is a great strategy to adopt. This is where you can entice customers back onto your site through paid ads. This is a great strategy to use in the weeks leading up to Black Friday – use ads that let shoppers know about the discounts. You could target customers that have left your site without purchasing in November.

You could offer your visitors a voucher code with money off to use on their most recent abandoned cart or give them a 10% or 20% discount on all abandoned cart items over the past month. 

Use FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) marketing to your advantage

As already mentioned, shoppers live in fear of missing out. There is a reason why sales ‘MUST END SOON’ and are for ‘BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND ONLY.’ 

This doesn’t just scare shoppers but it also makes them feel like they are getting an exclusive deal.  As Black Friday is for one day only you can use this to your utmost advantage. 

FOMO tactics on Black Friday

Remind your customers of the exclusivity and scarcity of your exclusive ‘one-off’ deals whenever you can by using the right email campaign (see the ‘Raise Awareness Through Email Campaigns’ section).

If you participated in Black Friday last year, you could use data and shopper stats from the event to excite and scare your customers. 

Example

Last year: You are a home appliance ecommerce site and last year you reduced a limited edition George Foreman grill by 60%. 

This year: Let your customers know how quickly these products sold – 100 an hour? 4 a minute? Make the customer feel like they must buy now!

Filtering products

As well as using email campaigns and event remarketing you can also add this information to different products on your page.

You may already give your customers the option to order the products on your product list page through ‘price’ and ‘relevance’ filters. You can add an extra filter for Black Friday which lists the ‘most popular’ products sold on Black Friday last year.

Perhaps you could add a ‘Black Friday deals’ filter which brings all your exclusive one-day-only deals to the top. Make sure you let your online shoppers know that you are adding this feature though through a slider on the homepage or through email marketing. 

Create bundles to add additional value to your deals

Buyers are keen to make big purchases on Black Friday and they will often wait the whole year to make an investment in a gadget so they don’t miss out on a savvy saving.

Don’t forget, people love something that feels new and fresh, and this is the time for you to push some of your new/want-to-sell products out there.

Try bundling your products to create new offers. Even though competing with the prices of other ecommerce stores is crucial, how about going one up and providing an offer that they haven’t? To get some ideas, try searching for last year’s offers on a range of competitor’s sites.

So what can you bundle together? Well think about it from your shopper’s point of view. This may also be another good time to check and analyse the shopping habits of your customers. 

The basics of a good consumer-driven Black Friday deal

Do consumers want a good deal and a savvy saving? Yes they do!

But what is it that really makes a good consumer-driven Black Friday deal? The answer is simple: make the shopper feel like they are getting a good deal.

What is it that really makes a good consumer-driven Black Friday deal? The answer is simple: make the shopper feel like they are getting a good deal. 

There are simple marketing strategies that you can adopt almost immediately. Using charm pricing and targeted discounts depending on the price of your products, you will be more likely to win a shopper over.

Shoppers want to feel like they are getting the best deal on the market and will not stop until they have the best price out there. That’s why a good Black Friday deal gives not only a great discount on a product, but also a well thought through marketing campaign to match.

Remember, consumers want to buy and more users than ever are shopping online due to retail shops shutting for months earlier this year. This is why email campaigns have never been more important. As an ecommerce business, you can take advantage of the recent transformation of Black Friday and communicate targeted and tailored deals to your consumers.

National newspapers are already flaunting some of the top buys and discounts that will be released this year, and home appliance brands such as Argos are already offering tips on how to deal with Black Friday 2020. But have no fear, there is still time. Consumers love the excitement of finding something new, so use the time leading up to it wisely. Analyse your competitor’s marketing strategies and use this brief analysis of consumer psychology to guide your own deals. 

Chloe Fair

Senior SEO Strategist

Chloe is a Senior SEO Strategist in our SEO team, specialising in international SEO. She works with clients to ensure they are optimised to the highest standards both on- and off- page.

Chloe has specialist knowledge in SEO and International SEO.

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