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    on May 06, 2022 Consumer Psychology

    9 ways to use Black Friday psychology all year

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    Typically reserved for the 24 hours after Thanksgiving, Black Friday is seen as the one-day only annual sale where valuable items get huge price reductions and consumers get the opportunity to purchase those items if they move quickly. Media outlets spend countless news cycles discussing the holiday, and retailers strongly promote their upcoming sales. In other words, it’s a big deal.

    Within a week or so, the shopping process returns to normal. Consumers patiently wait for another chance to experience fun shopping events, and marketers spin their wheels looking for innovative ways to drive conversions. 

    But it doesn't have to be like this. Here are nine ways to use Black Friday psychology any day of the year. 

    1. Discounts on select items

    For some brands, giving an extra 15% off on select items is a way of spreading even more love during the holiday season. This doorbuster strategy can also be used throughout the rest of the year when you’ve marked down the price of an item. Offer a promo code at checkout or place the discount on products that you ordered in excess. 

    2. Early access to sales

    If there’s one thing people like more than getting access to their favorite products, it’s early access to their favorite products.

    If you have an upcoming sale on the horizon, carve out some time exclusively for certain customers and let them get first dibs on the discounts. You can choose to give unlimited access to long-time customers who are members of your loyalty program or new customers who are still figuring out what your brand is about. 

    3. Countdown timers

    When time is ticking, that’s when the fun really starts. 

    Countdowns are psychologically invigorating. They inspire a sense of urgency, automatically capture consumer attention and give consumers something to look forward to. 

    This strategy is great for any temporary promotion, including product launches and flash sales. You can use a countdown timer to let your customers know when a campaign is about to start or end.

    It’s important to be honest about the timing and to give consumers ample notice about everything related to the campaign.

    4. Limited-time discounts

    Time scarcity is a huge element of Black Friday. Customers know that the discounts available to them will only be available for one standard shopping day, and it inspires them to take advantage of the limited-time offers. 

    You can leverage LTOs by discounting your prices for a short period of time whenever you’d like, not just on Black Friday. 

    5. Fun competitions

    If you’ve ever seen Black Friday in action, you’ve seen the swarms of shoppers racing to get the best Black Friday deals before anyone else. It’s a competition, and the human brain loves it

    Competition provides consumers with a hype-filled, potentially rewarding campaign where they can feel engaged and accomplished in their actions. It gives consumers something to work toward and can be approached in a fun way. 

    You can create friendly competitions between consumers by sending out a marketing message where the first 100 people to fill out a survey earn a reward, for example. Consumers can also compete against themselves to succeed in a personal goal like trying a certain amount of new products or reviewing a product by a certain date.

    6. Huge markdowns

    If you had to boil Black Friday down to one word, you probably pick discounts. Or deals. Or sales.

    Either way, Black Friday is a day of major price reductions, and it makes shopping even more irresistible than it usually is. Customers love sales, namely because spending money causes them psychological pain, and Black Friday gives them exactly what they’re looking for. 

    Huge markdowns don’t have to be reserved for holidays. You can surprise your customers with a major sale to thank them for choosing to shop with your brand or significantly lower the prices of items temporarily to drive more in-store and online sales. 

    It’s a win-win and your customers will be glad you did it. 

    7. Word choice

    Consumers are often looking for two things from their shopping experience: value and simplicity. Black Friday has successfully captured both. 

    Most shoppers are aware that Black Friday serves as an opportunity for them to experience big sales on must-have products. There’s no tricks or gimmicks, just a limited-time opportunity for them to benefit from major discounts. 

    Black Friday sales emphasize the value of those discounts by putting it very simply. The deals and savings are clearly outlined through the language used on promotional campaigns so consumers know exactly what they’re getting from their interaction with the brand. The specific discount tactic is up to you; the goal is to provide value and get your message across clearly. 

    8. Heavy promotion

    Part of what makes Black Friday so successful is the collective knowledge that huge deals are on the way. All year, consumers and brands alike prepare for the holiday and count down the days until the big sales are underway. 

    The discounts are advertised online, in the news, by social media influencers and by the consumers themselves who share their Black Friday shopping plans with friends and family. Even the long lines encourage consumers to think about what will happen when they begin shopping. All of this is building anticipation and increasing consumer excitement.

    Brands can encourage feelings of anticipation year-round by relying on data analytics and customer input to determine what content customers want to see the most. You can also utilize standard promotional tools like commercials, social media marketing, email messages, and more. 

    9. Fear of missing out

    When every major deal from top brands is combined into one day, it can encourage huge emotions, like the fear of missing out (FOMO). The shopping period is limited to a 24-hour time span and getting deals isn’t always easy when there are hundreds or thousands of other customers vying for the same items. This can cause a lot of stress or you can shape the experience tobenefit the consumer. 

    Black Friday shoppers are often making purchases at the start of the holiday season, hoping to find the best gifts for their loved ones. It’s easy for consumers not to second-guess purchases during that time of year, but that clarity can subside on a random Tuesday in July. You can help your customers meet their purchase needs and feel a sense of urgency when you cater to FOMO

    Black Friday might occur one time per year, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to. Psychological principles from scarcity to anticipation can be leveraged during the shopping journey to give consumers a break from the normal cycle and help you meet your brand goals. 


    Lindsay Keener

    Lindsay Keener is a brand journalist for Quikly. She covers stories that help to inform and educate consumer-facing marketers.