November comes with much hype about Black Friday and crazy discounts from major retailers. You can hardly use the internet without ads popping up about it.
The ads come to your phone, email, and social media timelines. Retailers go a step further and advertise Black Friday sales on billboards and through media houses.
Where did these holidays begin and what is their connection with shopping?
The History Black Friday
The term “Black Friday” was first used to refer to a financial crisis. On September 24, 1869, the US gold market crashed.
Two financiers in Wall Street, Jim Fisk and Jay Gould caused the crash after purchasing gold in large amounts. The day of the crash was a Friday, which was referred to as Black Friday after that.
The term has also been associated with profit and loss accounts. In the US, retailers recorded their profits in black while losses were marked in red.
The story goes that throughout the year, the accounting books for most businesses were in red. However, the situation changed on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Retailers would record a boost in sales on the Friday after such that their books changed from red to black.
People travel to be with their families on Thanksgiving. Family gatherings are partly associated with increased shopping.
Black Friday in Philadelphia
Philadelphia has a different story about Black Friday. In the 1950s, police officers throughout Philadelphia called the Friday after Thanksgiving “Black Friday.”
The city would host the Army-Navy football game, which attracted tourists from all over. It was hard to control the crowds and the chaos that came with it.
The officers had to deal with increased traffic jams. In addition, some people took advantage of the chaos and started shoplifting.
It was simply a chaotic Friday and police officers would hardly get time off. The term helped described their day after an exciting Thanksgiving evening.
Cyber Monday is the Monday after thanksgiving. The term was first introduced in 2005 and has slowly gained popularity.
Ellen Davis, a leader at the National Retail Federation (NRF) coined the term, which retailers and shoppers adopted quickly. The Federation had noted a trend in online sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
Online retailers experienced a significant increase in traffic and revenues. Davis first thought of calling it Black Monday but the term sounded too sad.
The Federation settled on Cyber Monday and issued a press release statement on the same. True to their expectations, the world took on the term fast.
Association with Online Shopping
The travel and social habits around Thanksgiving lead to increased to shopping before and after the holiday. Every holiday is associated with shopping as people gather to celebrate.
However, Black Friday and Cyber Monday come with the best deals and discounts from retailers. Entrepreneurs have used the holidays over the years to encourage shoppers to buy even more from their stores.
Today, the world has better access to the internet than when the holidays were first introduced. Hence, online stores record almost the same amount of traffic as physical stores.
In fact, Cyber Monday was coined after increased online sales. One myth about the increase is that most shoppers were home for the holidays.
Buyers have access to fast and secure internet at home where they can easily shop online. In addition, shopping online helps family members to surprise their loved ones with random gifts.
E-commerce today comes with the option of delivering gifts to the recipients’ location. Shopping together in a physical store limits the fun on exchanging gifts.
In the US, retailers record billions of dollars in sales from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. The sales increase every year.
Tips for Kenyan Entrepreneurs
Kenyan businesses have been adopting the culture of offering crazy deals and discounts on Black Friday. Although the holidays are considered as “western” or white, retailers have made them popular locally with discounts.
The spread of e-commerce in Kenya has enabled entrepreneurs to increase online sales during these holidays. However, some stores are yet to catch up or maximise their sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
If your store falls into this category, try these strategies in the coming year and taste the difference:
1. Prepare your online store
If you are reading this and operating without an online store, you are in the right place. Muva Technologies can design an amazing e-commerce website for your business. Your first step will be to create the website and promote it.
Gone are the days of relying on websites alone. Your business needs a mobile app as well. Many buyers are considering purchases via an app if the quality and pricing are consistent with the e-commerce website.
Again, we can help you develop an app that suits your business.
Ensure that your website is mobile-responsive and fast. Audit all pages to identify and clear any errors. Ensure that all listed items are in stock.
2. Start early
A new term has been coined after Black Friday, that is, Black November. Retailers are no longer waiting until the week of Thanksgiving to market their products and discounts.
The sales start at the beginning of November. Do the same. Prepare the deals and including the ads before November. Run the ads throughout the month on as many marketing platforms as you can.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great opportunities to drive traffic to your online store. The holidays are already associated with a shopping craze as described above.
However, you will have hundreds of visitors to your online store that will not purchase anything. Many will browse your deals and not place any order while some will abandon their carts halfway.
You may have the same experience in the physical store. Some buyers may contact you about the deals without any purchases.
Follow up on all new contacts that you get during this season. Have retargeting marketing strategies to sell to them even after the deals are over. The buyers already know about your business and are likely to buy from you in the future.
Your success in driving sales on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday depends on the state of your online store. Allow expert developers at Muva to optimize your e-commerce website or create an e-commerce app for your brand. It is not too early to plan for the next holiday!