Six tips for retailers on Black Friday

Black Friday Six tips for retailers on Black Friday

Published on 17.11.2021 by Derya Kilic, Digital Commerce Consultant at Swiss Post

The Black Friday event that started in the USA is now also popular across Europe. Last year, it generated record sales for many retailers. Six points that retailers should take into account on Black Friday are outlined below.

This year, Black Friday will take place on 26 November 2021. The event originated in the US and follows the Thanksgiving holiday. It is all about the many special deals and discounts intended to encourage customer purchases. Last year, many retailers recorded record sales on Black Friday – despite, or perhaps because of, the already unprecedented effects of the coronavirus crisis. But the event is not always well received. It comes in for criticism from many quarters due to its promotion of consumerism, encouraging customers to make unnecessary purchases. And yet, retailer sales on Black Friday are increasing year by year. Such success cannot be taken for granted. For a campaign to go well, retailers must prepare properly for the event and pay attention to a few key points. These are explained in brief below.

1. Increase staffing capacity

Even if many e-commerce processes are automated nowadays, they are impossible without employees. If you want to succeed on Black Friday, you will need support. Every retailer should have realistic personnel planning in place, with appropriate deputation for the day of the campaign, as well as for the period before and after.

2. Focus on advertising

Because so many retailers throw around attractive discounts on Black Friday, it’s important to stand out from the competition. This is where advertising can help. But standard advertising is not enough – retailers need to think about how they can best reach their existing customers as well as new target groups. For example, advertising via Google search and shopping ads can help. But paid-for or organic content partnerships with high-reach media, advertising on social media or programmatic campaigns for greater reach are all worth considering. But these are just a few of many possible measures. Without advertising, it will be even more difficult for retailers to draw attention to their attractive offers.

3. Increase server availability for your online shop

On Black Friday, web traffic in an online shop or on a website usually soars well above the daily average. The IT website “IT Daily” reports that data traffic increases by up to 28 percent compared to the normal weekly average (IT Daily, 2020 (in German)). To ensure that the online shop does not crash or become temporarily unavailable due to high data traffic, all retailers should check their server capacity and increase it if necessary. This can be done either directly via the hosting partner or via the web agency.

4. Offer attractive discounts

Customers are not stupid. Many customers compare and monitor the prices in a shop on a regular basis. Websites such as Google or help them to do this. Retailers who artificially raise prices just to reduce them again on Black Friday or a few days beforehand are doing themselves no favours and should avoid taking part in the promotion at all because failure is guaranteed.

5. Ramp up delivery and logistics capacity

Once the orders have been placed, it’s all about fulfilment. Even on exceptional days like Black Friday, customers still expect their order to be processed and dispatched quickly. Retailers who perform their own logistics will need to increase their personnel and storage capacity. Retailers who use a logistics partner, however, should check capacities as early as possible, also with regard to processing possible returns of ordered products, to ensure that the campaign does not ultimately fail due to fulfilment problems.

6. Don’t forget post-processing

The potential for acquiring new customers on Black Friday is very high. This makes it all the more important to properly manage potential new customers, as well as existing ones, throughout their customer journey to ensure that they are retained – for example, with interesting mailings or newsletters, competitions, loyalty campaigns or a little gift on their birthdays. As a result, retailers will not have to constantly advertise in order to attract new customers. When they deal with their customers correctly, they benefit from higher lifetime values over time.


Black Friday has increasingly established itself on the Swiss e-commerce market in recent years. This has led to large retailers and marketplaces, such as Manor, Digitec Galaxus or Microspot, offering discounts and special deals every year because, despite being controversial, Black Friday attracts customers. Each retailer has to decide for themselves whether it is worth participating in this event. In addition to extensive preparations, other arrangements related to the campaign and the days following it are absolutely critical. Many factors play an important role, including availability of products, attractive prices, short delivery times or the expansion of staffing and logistics capacities. These require investment. It makes sense for every retailer to compare the required investments and costs with potential revenue. It’s also useful to consult with other retailers who already have experience of Black Friday. Either way: proper preparation is essential for a successful Black Friday campaign.

Derya Kilic, Digital Commerce Consultant at Swiss Post

She helps retailers to develop their digital maturity through strategic digitization advice and the development of solution concepts.

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