Traditionally, Thanksgiving in America is associated with family time and a huge meal with turkey and all the fixings.

Oh, how times have changed…

In the last few years, with increasing momentum, Thanksgiving has become the kick-off of Black Friday and holiday shopping… which sometimes starts as early as Wednesday night in certain stores. In fact, some of the big stores, like Target, have been blowing up their customers’ inboxes since the first week in November. It’s the biggest money-making week of the year.

This could (and should) be THE most profitable time of the year for YOUR business!

Is your inbox getting flooded with sales emails like this one?

Yep, it’s happening in everyone’s inbox…are you sending your list Black Friday specials yet?

You’ve heard the stories about people waiting in line all night outside Best Buy, shoppers fighting with one another over the last available hot item on the shelf, and people actually trampled in the stampede into stores once they open their doors for Black Friday sales.

Sadly, the holiday gets overlooked as a whole as stores now are opening and starting their Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving Day (or earlier) instead of waiting until Friday like they use to. There are some stores like Sam’s Club that do not participate and take a stand on letting their workers have the day off. But, this is just another way retailers are trying to squeeze every dime out of consumers and beat each other in the race. Right now, Walmart is offering a $300 gift card if you get a new phone from them and Target is offering $250 for the same thing.

The term “Black Friday” (in the retail sense) was coined in the 1960s to mark the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season. “Black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss and black indicated a profit.

Here are some stats on Black Friday to give you an idea of the magnitude:

Black Friday shopping and spending

  • 2017 Holiday sales (Nov. and Dec.) totalled $691.9 billion (up 5.5% from 2016). (Source: NRF)
  • Black Friday 2017 (Thanksgiving Day plus Black Friday) raked in $7.9 billion in online sales. That’s $5.03 billion spent on Thanksgiving Day and $2.87 billion spent on Black Friday. This spending level is up 17.9% from 2016. (Source: Adobe Analytics)
  • 13 million online transactions were processed on Black Friday 2017 and 12.5 million were processed on Thanksgiving. (Source: Hitwise)
  • 174 million Americans shopped on Black Friday weekend 2017 (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday) (Source: NRF)
  • Average per-person spending for Thanksgiving weekend 2017 was $335.47 — and $251 of that was for gifts. Older millennials (age 25 to 34) spent the most per person ($419.52) (Source: NRF)
  • Average per-person spending for Thanksgiving weekend 2016 was $289.19 — and $214 of that was for gifts. (Source: NRF)

Black Friday online vs. in stores

  • During Black Friday weekend 2017, 64 million shopped both online and in stores; 58 million shopped only online and 51 million shopped only in stores. (Source: NRF)
  • In 2017, Black Friday was the most popular day for in-store shopping (77 million shopped in store on Black Friday 2017) (Source: NRF).
  • Heading into the 2017 holiday shopping season, slightly more (44%) consumers said they planned to shop online on Black Friday 2017 than in store (42%). (Source:

Top Black Friday Products

  • Heading into Black Friday 2017, consumers said they were looking for deals on the following: Tablets/laptops/PCs/TVs (27%); clothing (24%); smart-home gadgets (15%); toys (15%); gift cards (11%); and travel (8%). (Source:

Top Black Friday Retailers

  • Amazon took 45.1% of all online transactions on Thanksgiving 2017 and 54.9% of all online transactions on Black Friday. (Source: Hitwise)
  • Walmart took 13.9% off all online transactions on Thanksgiving 2017 and 8.8% of all online transactions on Black Friday (Source: Hitwise)

And, of course, there’s Cyber Monday…

Cyber Monday is a term that started getting used in 2005. The next few years resulted in brutal competition between Walmart and Amazon, who continuously tried to one-up the other by extending the sales to Tuesday and then into an entire “Cyber Week.”

In 2016, the bulk of large retailers were no longer limiting themselves to a single day for “Cyber” deals. Amazon had begun calling its promo “Cyber Monday Deals Week” and releasing constantly changing daily deals. Kohl’s extended its Cyber sale into Early December. By 2017, Black Friday and Cyber Monday became almost indistinguishable.

  • Cyber Monday sales in 2017 were tracked at $3.36 Billion!
  • Cyber Monday has begun to edge out Black Friday in popularity. In 2017, 71% of consumers said they planned to shop on Cyber Monday, compared to the 69% who said they planned to shop on Black Friday. (Source:
  • Younger consumers prefer Cyber Monday to Black Friday: 88 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds planned to shop on Cyber Monday in 2017 while 74% of 35-to-54-year-olds said the same. (Source:

At this point in history, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are triggers for spending. People sometimes “hold back” on purchases to see if they will get a better deal during these sales. But once it cranks up, consumer spending is like an avalanche.

People are looking for a deal. It’s a huge opportunity.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday madness isn’t going anywhere…so how can YOU take advantage of this hot annual spending frenzy tradition?

Watch what the big name stores are doing and duplicate it in your business. The big names use creative and scarcity-driven tactics such as:

  • The “Unmissable Deal” so hot they can’t resist – some products are discounted more than 50%
  • The Deal of the Hour – hit them with more than one deal to grab their attention
  • Free Gift Offer – everyone likes Free Stuff, so give them something of value
  • Use countdown timers – REAL ones that actually end the sale at the time you advertise on your sales page
  • Extended Sales (Cyber Week) – create scarcity by ending the Hottest Deal at Midnight on Cyber Monday and extending another offer through the week
  • Heavy Email Marketing – use spectacular subject lines to get noticed
  • Launch a new product – If you don’t have one ready, might be too late for that this year, but plan ahead for next year.
  • Offer Sneak Peeks a few days before
  • Use Hashtags such as #blackfriday #blackfriday2018 #cybermonday #sale #blackfridaysale #blackfridaydeals
  • Increase Ad Spend – get your offer in front of more people
  • Offer “Mystery Savings” that are only unlocked if they take some action. This is also good for list building!
  • Send Holiday Cards with a Coupon Code
  • Offer a VIP Discount to your best customers
  • Team up with a partner and create an offer bundle that your customers could NEVER get otherwise
  • Make it a party…create hype and get your customers involved on social media
  • Reward your social media fans with incentives for sharing your offer

So if you implement any or all of the above tactics, you are sure to end up with a lot more traffic than you normally have. Is your site ready for this influx of online traffic?

Here are some things to consider if you aren’t already doing them:

  • Start early…because your customers will. Like…NOW! The big companies have been campaigning since Halloween ended.
  • Check your site speed. People don’t want to wait and they will go spend their money elsewhere if your site is running slow. There are plenty of online sources for this.
  • Keep your site up. Do whatever maintenance is necessary to keep from crashing during Cyber Week. Put your webmaster on alert during this busy time.
  • Back it up. Have back-ups for everything…just in case!
  • Put retargeting strategies in place. Don’t lose sight of all the people shopping, but not necessarily buying at that moment. Retarget them over the weekend and later into Cyber Week. Set up abandoned cart alerts if you don’t already have them in place.
  • Use your analytics this time of year. Even though buying behavior is different than normal patterns, the info you gather will be great to prepare for next year.

It’s tough to stand out from the crowd during a “normal” time of year, so just imagine how hard it is to get your offer noticed for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Every retailer and anyone who has an offer or service to sell will be shouting from the rooftops. Ramp up your campaigns on every platform and especially in email marketing. People’s inboxes will be overflowing with deals. They’ll start the day by deleting most of it. Consider sending out your emails during “off times” throughout the day.

Lastly: Just keep at it. If you are putting your offer out there, and you show people VALUE, they WILL buy. But, you, like every other retailer out there, will have to ramp up your efforts to stand out. Tis the season!

Happy Holidays!

Need more help getting your business off the ground? Check out our New to JVZoo Training Series HERE

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