Is Black Friday even a thing in Australia?

I’ve worked in marketing in London and Manchester for 8 years, heavily grounded in e-commerce, so it came as a huge surprise to me when I emigrated to Australia to discover just how far behind my new home country is when it comes to online shopping and digital-focussed business. Online sales make up just 5.4% of Australia’s total retail sales, whilst in the UK this comes in at more than double (13.5%).

As a result, I have been thinking a lot recently about how businesses here in Australia can learn from the maturity of the online retail industry back at home and use my knowledge to their advantage. As Black Friday arrives in stores around the world tomorrow I thought it was time to talk about what this means for Australian retail.

Unlike the UK where marketeers are planning strategy around Black Friday months in advance, with detailed promotions that now fill the days around the day itself, it’s clear that this isn’t an event that Australians have firmly in their retail calendar. So tomorrow, do not expect fights in Big W or JB Hifi over cut-price televisions… like this which happened back at home.

FOR THOSE OF YOU ASKING “WHAT EVEN IS BLACK FRIDAY?” LET’S TAKE THINGS BACK TO THE START.

Black Friday is one of those American calendar events (like Halloween I guess) that has snowballed globally and now has a prominence across the majority of the retail landscape. The day started as huge discounts and sales would launch in retail stores the day following Thanksgiving in the USA, a public holiday. This day has now come to be known as Black Friday.

Why Black? Generally it’s accepted that it’s known as Black Friday due to the chaos of traffic and pedestrian footfall that occurs in US city centres as a result of increased shopping. So in essence, the ‘black’ part of Black Friday isn’t really that important. Sorry, I know we all thought it would be so much more exciting than that.

If you’re a business or a marketeer, it’s also worth knowing that there is also now a secondary day linked to this huge moment in retail’s calendar year. Cyber Monday falls on the Monday after the Black Friday weekend and traditionally sees the greatest figures for online shopping in the year. The focus shifts from in store discounts to online exclusive savings, and for online retailers who have already been discounting for Black Friday you’ll usually see a bonus saving on top of already discounted prices. (This is the time to start snapping up your ASOS wishlist my friends).

All of this is only further amplified by the fact that shoppers have (generally) just received their last pay cheque before Christmas. This means that all the discounts and sales have fallen at the perfect time for the general public to finish their Christmas shopping whilst saving some money for some festive fun.

BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

Black Friday isn’t going anywhere.

In fact in Australia consumer interest in Black Friday has grown by 614%. YES, you read that right. No typo. SIX HUNDRED AND FOURTEEN PERCENT.*

The average Australian is expected to spend around $216 over Black Friday. Still small fry vs. the rest of the world. Americans, for example, are expected to spend around $500 each.*

I know it is a little crass and it’s just another day of loud and garish offers, but this is such a huge growth area you’d be seriously foolish to ignore it.

IF AUSTRALIA ISN’T REALLY DOING MUCH AROUND BLACK FRIDAY, WHY SHOULD I?

If you’ve got the opportunity to be the leader in adopting something new, why wouldn’t you. Establishing yourself in your consumers minds as a retailer that offers great Black Friday discounts or promotions will only help you maintain the advantage against your competitors when they (finally & inevitably) decide to jump on the bandwagon.

Don’t wait for everyone else to do something first. Be the trendsetter. There’s solid industry insight out there (that 614%!) that proves it’ll be worth your while.

GREAT, BUT IT’S TOMORROW. IT’S TOO LATE TO DO ANYTHING NOW!

Yes, tomorrow is Black Friday and yes, it is a little late to pull something out of the bag and do it justice. BUT, it’s not too late to still be able to learn from other retailers this year and apply this to your business for 2019.

My top tips:

  • Collate all the emails you receive from competitor brands around Black Friday this year, so you can reference them next year.

  • Screenshot (or save!) any social media posts or adverts that you’ve seen and loved around Black Friday.

  • Go on a competitor shop. (You could even combine this with doing your own Christmas shop!). Head to your nearest shopping centre and take note of any promotions that you see, how they are signposting shoppers to their discounts, collect any flyers that they’re giving out. Take loads of photos.

If you want any further advice on how to maximise your online retail potential, or how to optimise your marketing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday get in touch: hello@dearcharliemarketing.com

PS. I love coffee and a good chat.

*Source Power Retail

Charlie Bland