Katie: In 2015 it was interesting to see Asda (who were so instrumental in establishing Black Friday in the UK initially) decide to move away from it – an economic decision. Last year it was good to see more US brands emulating American outdoor retailer REI and actually closing their stores on Black Friday.
And this year? Amazon, arguably the biggest Black Friday player, is creating a pop-up in Soho to offer an experience for customers as well as low prices. I think someone like Aldi or Lidl could have some fun with their ‘middle aisle of mystery’ products and it wouldn’t damage their brand as they’re already seen as discount supermarkets.
However, I do think momentum is slowing for some sectors and some of the most interesting stories could be how more brands publicly opt out.
Chris: There are a number of great examples of deliberately opting out in the outdoor goods space – and this really demonstrates what we’ve said about fit. Outdoor brands stand for going outdoors and exploring – not shopping. Black Friday has presented a way for them to differentiate themselves.
For example, Patagonia has taken an on-brand approach by rejecting discounts, and instead donating profits to charity on Black Friday.
Fat Face in the UK took a similar approach with their ‘thanks for giving’ campaign which saw them donate a percentage of the day’s profits to local charities. Fat Face have also done a price promise. They promise that if you buy something in the months before Christmas, there’s no risk that you’d be better off buying it at another time.