Behind the Curtain: Black Friday Online Discounts

November 17, 2018 1 Comment


I dislike the overblown, frenetic, & scarcity-minded ethos of Black Friday. Plus, dignify always has our own one-day, once-a-year sale earlier in November. So: why participate in any of it?!

This is a tension that I have wrestled with over 6 holiday seasons, end every year, I’m back at the drawing board.

This year, we decided that yes, we would offer free shipping over the weekend as a BFCM (industry shorthand for Black Friday/Cyber Monday) bonus. And yes, what led us there was simple economics. It works, it makes money, it makes sense. But, probably not in the same way that you think...



In the world of online retail marketing, email is still King & Queen. It’s intimate, it’s direct, and as a business, you don’t have to pay every time you pop into someone’s inbox (unlike, say, showing an ad on Facebook or elsewhere, where you have to pay every time). This is why you see such common incentives to “Sign Up!” for mailing lists, and why so many retailers give discounts, downloads, or other goodies in exchange for your email address.

We, of course, email on the regular — our Saturday morning “Keep Up” email is a crucial piece of our dignify puzzle. I don’t give any incentive to sign up other than first-to-know access (which, for a shop full of one-of-a-kind items, is indeed a benefit!). But, I use the same “best practices” as any other online brand: I try to create content & provide writing and links that are interesting and appreciated by the audience who is receiving it.

The feedback I hear generally echoes that many of you find this true!  



Two years ago, I tried an experiment. Instead of announcing a BFCM deal/bonus, and then trying to promote it & generate sales amidst the Black Friday noise, what if I just used the deal as an incentive for joining the email list?

I promoted this idea — sign up to find out what our Black Friday deal is — and, as a result, there were 120 new subscribers to our weekly email list. How many of them made purchases that weekend? 3. But, how many of those sign-ups purchased sometime over the course of the year? Many more, spending over $2,000. Two years later, the total spent by those BFCM sign-ups is now around $4,500.

 

I will be doing the same thing this year, this upcoming week. I think that our email content is good, the "Shop Good" message is important, and the conversations we have around here are valuable. And, I want more people to discover this!

I also, of course, want to sell blankets. Not to anyone who can't afford them, or as another item to covet, or to complete the "perfect" home decor. But, to the ones who want them, need them, value them. Yes. Let's keep this good work going.

 

Any thoughts? Questions? Disagreements? Share them in the comments below.


1 Response

Brigitte Moore

November 17, 2018

I look forward to your weekly emails and love reading your news and thoughts. They are interesting and very often inspiring. As I was reading this post, I was immediately struck by your last two sentences. My family will be getting kantha blankets for Christmas because we want them, we need them, and especially because we value them. The other present my family will receive this Christmas is an orphan elephant from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to foster. The DSWT has been rescuing orphaned animals, mostly elephants, for over 40 years, providing the vital service of fostering care, veterinary services, and raising awareness of the declining African elephant species due to poaching, human conflict, and drought. They raise these babies to be fully integrated back to the wild, a daunting task considering these precious animals have the same life stages and life span as humans. So yes, it’s very important to do good work, and to keep on doing it!

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