Many independent retailers are going against the grain this Black Friday and doing something different to try to grab the attention of shoppers.

In order to compete with retail giants, such as Amazon, Tesco, Walmart and John Lewis, independent retailers are taking many different approaches to the discount and deals day.

Black Friday takes place on the 27th November, the day after the US holiday, Thanksgiving. It’s become a key shopping date that is impossible to ignore in both the US and UK.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at how Black Friday is changing, including:

  • Breaking Away from American Tradition
  • Are UK shoppers already bored of Black Friday?
  • What are independent retailers doing for Black Friday?
  • Black Friday 2015 Retail Trends & Predictions
  • 5 Top Tips for Black Friday

Breaking Away from American Tradition

Black Friday began as an American shopping holiday which takes place the Friday after Thanksgiving each year. Last year, US shoppers spent more than $1.5 billion on Black Friday.

The US shopping day is traditionally known to bring hoards of crowds to the shops and has even resulted in shoppers fighting over discounted goods.

US retailer, REI, usually takes part in Black Friday but have announced they will close all stores on Black Friday and are encouraging shoppers to go outside instead. Are the fights discouraging retailers to participate on Black Friday?


Are UK shoppers already bored of Black Friday?

It seems uncertain if the UK will explode into the darkness of the Black Friday sales or shy away from the discount day.

After adopting the American shopping day two years ago, the UK has seen fights break out and shoppers spend £810 million in 2014. With less than two weeks until the main event, it seems unclear if consumers will go crazy for Black Friday like last year or boycott the American tradition.

Supermarket giant, Asda, announced last week that they will not participate in Black Friday 2015. This comes as a surprise after they played a big role in bringing the shopping discount event to the UK in 2013, when they slashed their prices on electronics.

Is Black Friday already fading away in the UK? It will be interesting to see what happens on the discount day.


What are independent retailers doing for Black Friday?

Black Friday tends to be associated with the large retailers who are no stranger to high-profile visibility and the chaos of sales events. This may seem a little daunting for small businesses considering taking part in Black Friday.

With so many large retailers taking part in Black Friday and raising the profile of the shopping event, why not entice shoppers to shop with you by doing something different to stand out from the crowd?

It’s the perfect time to do something different for Black Friday as shoppers seem to have a seed of doubt planted in their head.

We caught up with some of our customers to see what they have up their sleeves for Black Friday. We’ve highlighted a few retailers who are taking the plunge and trying something different this Black Friday. Why not follow their lead and try out one of these unique ideas?


Get in before your competition like Pawstruck...

“Running deals a week ahead of Black Friday and emailing our customers about it in advance. That way our customers can buy from us before seeing all the competition on Black Friday.”

- Kyle Goguen, Pawstruck -


Offer deals on different days and have a rest on Black Friday like Fields of Glory Ltd...

“We too will be closed on Black Friday as we will be away in the US for Thanksgiving.... We intend to a 'Camo' Tuesday with special offers and discounts the following week.”

- Lee Witts, Fields of Glory Ltd -



Make it a social event like Bat and Bottle...

"Holding a Wine Tasting in the early evening and encouraging our customers to spend the day in our small market town to do their Christmas shopping."

- Emma Robson, Bat and Bottle -

Close shop like CEIbooks...

Following in the footsteps of REI, CEIbooks is taking a break on Black Friday “We will be closing our store to spend more time with family. But we will run extra great deals for cyber monday!”

- Joy Knudtson, CEIbooks -


Beat the crowds by offering discounts a day early like TenofThose Ltd...

"We actually did a "Thrifty Thursday" sale last year to get in ahead of others and to be a little different and catch people's attention. We could well do the same this year."

- Nick Brake, TenofThose Ltd -


Instead of lowering price, give a charitable donation like Spikeball...

“We go against the grain and like to play around with different ideas for Black Friday. In the past, we have donated a percentage of Black Friday profits to charity.”

- Scott Palmer, Spikeball -


Or stick to the norm and offer huge discounts like the big retailers...

"I think we're going to go down the standard route of offering a silly and non-profitable discount ruining our chances of making money in December!"

- Martin Holland-Lloyd, Rattle and Drum Ltd -


Black Friday 2015 Retail Trends & Predictions

In the US, half of Americans are expected to visit the shops on Black Friday, with 60% of shoppers buying holiday gifts. Spending on Black Friday is expected to reach $8.8 billion, 3% lower than last year.

The UK is predicted to spend £1 billion on Black Friday 2015, which would beat last year’s spend of £810 million. The Black Friday bargains are expected to attract 1 in 5 British shoppers, with 18-29 year olds most likely to shop.


5 Top Tips for Black Friday

Whether you decide to follow tradition or stray away from the predictable, here are 5 key tips to get you through the busy Black Friday weekend.


1. Stock those best sellers

Best sellers are the key to a successful Black Friday. Make sure your stock levels are high on those popular products and offer deals on your best sellers to increase sales on the discount day.


2. Aim for Excellent Customer Service

In the craze of Black Friday, shoppers are likely to lose their patience both in store and online as queues build and shopping becomes more difficult. Great customer service is always expected but go the extra mile on Black Friday to keep your customers smiling! Perhaps offer a sweet treat at the end of their purchase to sweeten them up as they leave your store.


3. Optimize your Website and Get Mobile

Stress test your website at the last minute to make sure you're ready for the influx in traffic to your website and make sure your website is looking great on mobile devices.


4. Be Sociable

Start conversations with your customers on social media. Share your plans for Black Friday and get your customers talking about it. Word of mouth is highly likely to increase footfall in store and traffic online. Customers tend to have lots of questions on Black Friday so why not use your social media as a platform to answer your customer's questions?

5. Offer Flexible Shipping & Returns

Not all of your customers will brave the busy shops on Black Friday so make sure you entice them to shop online by offering flexible shipping. Additionally, offer flexible returns so your customers have no worries when it comes to ordering online with you.


Read more on tips and advice for the holiday season in this blog highlighting the best practices for the holiday season.

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About the Author

Danielle Ricketts is the Senior Global Content Manager at Brightpearl where she spends her time following her passions of writing, retail and social media. She can be found writing away about all things retail or engaging with followers online.