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Brief Published: 17 Nov 2020

Black Friday 2020: Tools & Tactics


With more mindful consumption on consumers’ radars due to Covid-19 (but financial gains still predicted to be huge), numerous brands are approaching Black Friday’s mega discounting bonanza differently this year. From phone networks to footwear, we spotlight those using the occasion (November 27) to promote less cynical retail models, including pre-order (no waste) production offers and elasticated, calmer sales periods.

While Black Friday forecasts predict smaller revenues for 2020 than previous years (Business Insider, 2020), online spend in the US is still expected to exceed $10bn.

Aloha Footwear Promotes Pre-Order Model

Spanish shoe brand Aloha is using Black Friday messaging to promote its pre-order business model – meaning it only produces what consumers have requested. Customers who buy early benefit from a discount, which gradually decreases as the product’s shipping date nears. Its e-commerce site tells shoppers to “shop on demand to offset the environmental costs of Black Friday”, listing its negative connotations such as over-production and crowded stores.

GiffGaff Phone Network Launches Circularity Push

UK phone network GiffGaff will facilitate customers reselling, recycling or donating their old phones as part of its Black Friday campaign. Building on its previous Black Friday scheme – which challenged the sector’s obsession with newness by giving consumers refurbished phones for free – the campaign is intended as a jumping-off point for the brand’s adoption of a circular economy stance.

H&M Offers App-First Shopping

Swedish fast fashion giant H&M pushed consumers to download its app via an email campaign. Messaging focused on 'a frictionless Black Friday' and detailed how consumers could save their chosen items for later and be alerted for when the item was discounted. 

Target & Walmart Extend Discounting

American retailers Target and Walmart have both stretched their Black Friday discounting over the entire month of November in an effort to cater to budget-conscious shoppers and encourage a safer, calmer consumer experience. Target will discount a different category each week both online and in-store, while Walmart will host three different ‘Deals for Days’ events, beginning online before adding in-store bargains. For more spend-spreading tactics, see A (Covid) Christmas Like No Other.

See also our companion brief, Black Friday 2020: Brand Backlash.