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The Black Friday pricing mania

On Friday businesses everywhere are bracing themselves for a shopping mania. Even in arduous times, customers are still spending and perhaps even more so on black Friday since they might be looking for a bargain. 

Every year the black Friday sales start earlier and they are seemingly more aggressive than the year before. The concept of black Friday has also spread across the world, mind you that the rest of the world have not adopted the ‘Thanksgiving tradition’ only the commercially driven black Friday. At the center of this ultra consumption day; prices. 

The day notes the start of Christmas shopping, the busiest time for our wallets and (hopefully) cash season for your business. 

How do I as a business approach Black Friday? 

We presume you want to be one of the ‘good guys’. A small study in Sweden showed the increase of prices are soaring during autumn, year after year peaking in October and November. They increased with as much as 38% price for one of the given months, to then give an even better deal come black Friday, whilst in reality the price is more or less the same. 

Of course the former practice is morally ambiguous, and hopefully customers are able to call this pricing strategy out. Another way of ensuring a profitable sale is keeping your prime products at a high margin, these would in turn bear the cost of the margin loss of the sale items. 

There are of course more ways you can strategize large black Friday sales. What you often may see in the clothing industry, they usually sell ‘leftovers’ from previous seasons. In other words, things they weren’t able to sell before. 

Finally, the last alternative we would like to bring up is a twist on the latter alternative. Your strategy is more of the 80-20 principle. That is 20% of your items will account for 80% of your profits, these are not the items you should put on sale. But the other 80% that do not actually account for your profits – but it would give an illusion of you having a great sale. 

What you need to consider is how your sale will be perceived by your customers, you don’t want them to understand you as stingy. 

Can’t I just give my customers what they want? 

Why not, if you have the margins go for it. Put the best items on sale if you can afford to. 

To be customer-centric is of course the most important thing to be successful. There is actually a sweets spot. We often talk about two graphs, a demand line and a revenue line. The highest point in demand and the high point in revenue are not always the same. 

This means that you will have a higher demand point and sell more units at one price point that differs from the other price point where the peak revenue is realized. Let’s then imagine that you usually have a price point where revenue is realized, but then during black Friday you move to another lower price point, where you have a demand peak. To then increase the volume rather than the profit. 

How you should set your sale price

There should be no surprise that we prefer the data driven approach. Why would you guess when you can make your decision based on data? To think about the sales in terms of volume or profit, and make active decisions will resonate better with your customers. Since this could also allow you to give a great deal on your customers favorite products. 


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Atenga Insights is a fast-growing, global company that is challenging the pricing consulting industry. Using our unique proprietary PDA™ technology, we identify the price and positioning that will generate higher sales and profits for our clients.