Why the same 'one size fits all' strategy won't work


We’re closing in on black Friday. The industry prediction is that the retailers will be forced to discount in the run-up to Christmas.

Millennials – “the choice generation”, no longer wishes to pay full retail price, or if they do they want a damn good reason to. They have so much choice and don’t mind waiting around for merchandise to be marked down or download coupons to receive a discount. Therefore it is no surprise that two out of five retailers are feeling forced to go on sale four or more times a year. Companies really have to think about their Black Friday strategies, as many companies experience lower sales in the period leading up to it. For fashion brands, days like Black Friday can be utilised to sell out the old collection and make space for the new.

Conversely many luxury brands are choosing to do the opposite and either discount less, later or not at all to preserve their exclusive reputation. Gucci’s new strategy is to give the merchandise longer hang time. They hold on to the stock for 6-12 months before releasing it to outlet stores, to prevent customers getting disappointed that an item they have bought at full price is marked down a few months later. In 2013 Mulberry decided not to go on sale until after Christmas, as they didn’t want to enter a discount war. This meant their sales figures went down, as the brands that had been discounting before Christmas had essentially stolen their sales.

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Other brands opt to do something completely different. Cards Against Humanity, have decided to stop all sales on their website during Black Friday and let people buy ‘nothing’ for $5, which is then donated to a charity. REI; a company that does outdoor clothing and gear, chose last Black Friday to run a campaign called #optoutside. They closed down all of their stores for the day and gave all their employees a paid day off and encouraged people to spend the day in the outdoors.

Fast fashion brands like H&M and Topshop have used Black Friday historically to sell old collections and lesser-sold styles to make space for the new. For brands like The Row or Danish Saks Potts who design season-less collections purposefully do not marking down their products to maintain their halo of exclusivity. Other brands such as FatFace are prioritising good causes and community; polls show that millennials are more inclined to spend money with a company that donates to charity.

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In an ever expanding and complex Black Friday season, it is clear the ‘one size fits all’ same strategy won’t work. Black Friday is not just an opportunity to sell product, it is also a major opportunity for companies to sell their brands. We for one cannot wait to see what the major players have up their sleeves for this year!