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What drives the Black Friday Sales Frenzy?

What drives the Black Friday Sales frenzy?

Why do people line up at 5 am, 3am or even 1 am to get the Black Friday Deals? What possesses people to stay up all night and wait in line in 30 degree weather? I personally classify this as insanity. Yet people all over America do it. Why?

When I was at Microsoft, we were able to create that same frenzy around a product launch. There was always a big launch event every time a new product or service was released. And, people would wait in line for that item, and frenzy was created.

I had colleagues that used to say, “We don’t do sustaining marketing. We launch products!” but what did they mean by this? What does Black Friday have in common with these “Product launches”?

Let’s take a look…

It all begins with the psychology of scarcity. People have some sort of innate reaction to the fear of losing access to something they desire. As an item or opportunity becomes less available, we lose our personal control over that item. The desire to preserve our freedom of choice and maintain control makes us desire that item even more than before.

So, if we limit the quantity, have a time deadline, or create a perceived competition for the item, that item becomes more attractive to us because we think we can’t have it. Our need for control takes over and we wait in line in zero degree weather at 5 in the morning to get it. And there you have one of the primary driving forces behind Black Friday.

Scarcity: Specific Deadline

To apply this in your own business you need to create a compelling reason why a customer can only have access to a particular item by a specific deadline or they will lose the opportunity. This is often portrayed as “Act Now while supplies last.” And “Offer ends Dec. 23rd”. Black Friday Deals are usually only available one day only.

Scarcity: Lost Advantages

A second method of creating a Black Friday-like scarcity is to point out what people will lose if they don’t take advantage of an opportunity. To do this you would identify for them their “lost advantages”, rather than focusing on the benefits they gain. What are they going to lose out on?

Scarcity: Competition

A third method of using scarcity to drive sales in your business would be to create the perception that if you doesn’t do this thing then someone else will and one will lose their chance of doing it. For example, “we only take the first 50 people”, or “Limited supplies available”. This suggests that their will be competition to get those spots and if you don’t act quickly, you will lose your chance to participate. Again, these are common techniques used to create a Black Friday Sales Frenzy.

Scarcity is a powerful tool of persuasion. Once you are aware of it, you can use it to improve your sales in your own business and even create your own version of a Black Friday Sales Frenzy.

Black Friday is all RED!

Black Friday and Retail Marketing

Most people think that Black Friday is the hugest shopping day of the year. And, well, it may be if you are one of the large national retail chains that has a big budget to promote large loss leading discounts to hundreds of thousands of people. But, if you are a small local retail shop, it’s one of the quietest days of the year. Why? because everyone is out at the mall, chasing the deal. The consumer doesn’t actually get around to shopping local, until the last week or two of the month.

How do you compete?

As a small business owner, you DON’T! At least not head-on. So instead of going after the Black-Friday shopper, try an alternative.

There are a lot of customers that don’t like the crowds and rush of mall shopping. Send email or a personal invitation to your best customers and invite them for a private shopping event. Or, host a customer appreciation holiday event. Offer hot cider, hot cocoa and holiday cookies while they shop.

How do you add value to their shopping experience? What can you offer that the big chains can’t? Personalized service for one. A flexible and intimate shopping experience is another. Focus on your strengths and add a holiday twist.

Always go back and evaluate what your customer wants. Why do they shop with you? Focus on the customer and giving them the ultimate shopping experience.

And Happy Thanksgiving to you.


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