Civilised Saturday - The Perfect Alternative To The Black Friday Madness
In this second article in a series focusing on running Christmas campaigns, I explore whether “Civilised Saturday” could be the perfect antidote to Black Friday madness and an opportunity to entice customers to your brand.
Here in the UK, independent bookshops are gearing up for a third year of events to mark Civilised Saturday, which has been billed as the antidote to the madness of deep discounting day Black Friday.
Civilised Saturday is an attempt by independent booksellers to counteract the effects of its biggest competitor, Amazon. Black Friday grew rapidly in the UK after Amazon transferred the idea from across the Atlantic in 2010. So much so that last year, on Black Friday, Amazon sold more than 7.4m items in the UK, a record for the company, and helped by a discounting campaign on products over the 12 days in the run-up to Black Friday.
Booksellers can’t compete on Amazon’s terms. But they do have the physical space to create a personalised and relaxed shopping experience for their customers - which fits perfectly with the hygge (pronounced who-guh) trend which has swept the UK.
Hygge is all about being in, and enjoying, the moment. The ultimate season for ‘hygge’ is Christmas. Think cottage in the snow. Log fires. Cosy jumpers and throws. Curling up in an armchair with a book. Mulled wine. Hot chocolate. Ginger biscuits. Hopefully you get the picture?
That’s why for Civilised Saturday last year, you saw many independent booksellers hosting "Great British Bake Off" inspired events to lure in customers averse to the madness of Black Friday. Some booksellers had former "Great British Bake Off" host Mary Berry signing copies of her new book, “Mary Berry’s Family Sunday Lunches.”
Love The Sound Of Civilised Saturday?
Before you rush off and cancel your Black Friday events, it’s worth bearing in mind these statistics:
In 2016, Britons spent a record £5.8 billion over the four days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2016 - an increase of 15% on last year, according to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR). Online retailers took approximately £2.8 billion of this sum - up 20% from £2.3 billion in 2015.
Cyber Monday 2016 was the single biggest day of online shopping in US history with $3.45 billion worth of items were sold on the Monday alone. Over here, British shoppers spent 15 per cent more than they did in 2015, although analysts suspect sales rose because Brits are doing their Christmas shopping earlier, not because they are necessarily spending more.
Do All Businesses Take Part In Black Friday?
Not in the UK, they don’t. Asda was hailed for bringing the US phenomenon of Black Friday to the UK in 2013, but the supermarket hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons when scenes of shoppers wrestling over discounted televisions made front page news!
Explaining their decision to step away from Black Friday. Asda's spokesman said this followed “feedback from customers that they wanted low prices throughout the festive season and not just for one day.”
Other retailers, including Ikea, Next and Homebase are among those who have turned their back on the sales day. While M&S and Selfridges sort of took part in Black Friday 2016 with weekend long Christmas-themed sales.
Civilised Saturday Ideas For Your Marketing Campaign
Think about the concept of hygge and how you could apply this to your business. For example:
Creating a calming space as a respite from the hustle and bustle of the BFCM sales;
Offering a personalised shopping experience;
Gift wrapping purchases;
Handing out mulled wine, sherry, salted caramel hot chocolate, mince pies or spiced biscuits;
Playing classical or jazz music to create a soothing environment;
Talks, events or an art exhibition.
In conclusion, don’t just jump on the Black Friday or Civilised Saturday bandwagon. Take a step back and think about which marketing strategy is most relevant to your brand. And which will most successfully drive sales. Fashion your promotional campaign around what’s right for your business, and enjoy bumper sales.
Wishing you a very successful Christmas marketing campaign. And thank you as always for reading my articles.
Question: Have you run a Civilised Saturday event before? Is this something you might try? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to share in the comments box below.
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