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Black Friday Grey Novemeber

Ditch discounting and discover the silver lining of Grey November

Posted by danielle.gamage | 22 September

Black Friday and Cyber Monday originally marked the start of the festive season for Americans celebrating Thanksgiving, but ask any Brit on Oxford Street now and you’ll soon realise that it has been renowned as the ultimate shopping season. UK retailers have successfully adopted Black Friday into their marketing plans and seen sale figures grow until recently. The US noticed it first and now the UK retailers are feeling the wrath of ‘Grey November’. 

November has famously become the key month to shop for Christmas, but retailers have made the mistake of essentially training customers to wait for discounts on Black Friday. It began in the US, Cyber Monday sales were taking a larger chunk of Black Friday sales due to competitors lowering prices sooner to win over shoppers. Retailers have responded to new customer expectations of early access to deals by creating a whole month of price cutting, but discounting comes at a cost.


The UK market isn’t far behind the US trends; troublesome for retailers as they can only discount so much. Black Friday 2015 was the biggest online shopping day ever in the UK and grew 153% from 2014. The downfall however was that figures also showed discounts starting a week earlier than in 2014. Just like the US, a few years before. The US are already in the midst of figuring out how to back away from discounting but UK retailers still have time to plan discounting alternatives for the festive season, the added value way.  

This spiralling trend has given retailers no choice, but TLC Marketing have a better solution. What if Black Friday could be a positive experience for both your staff and customers alike? What if you dumped the discounts and owned the shopping season through free rewards perfectly aligned with your brand ethos?

Customers buying on Black Friday aren’t going anywhere, but discounts must go. Many brands are already backing out. REI in the US went one step further and actually closed its doors on Black Friday. REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.), love getting outside and know the benefit of quality time in the fresh air. On Black Friday 2014 they brought this brand ethos to life by paying employees to take the day off and explore the great outdoors.

The solution

We say ‘No!’ to discounts and ‘Yes!’ to adding value. Offer your customers TLC experiences, gift-wrapped by your brand in a bespoke campaign. Use the longer timeframe of Grey November to retain customers. The rise in self-gifting could allow your brand to incentivise customers with ‘me time’ rewards of your choice; the perfect way to tap into the giving season. 

Get in touch to discuss how to ditch the discount and give your customers what they really want.