It’s started! Today a very attractive Black Friday 50% off offer for a country hotel bed & breakfast from now til Christmas landed in my inbox. As this event has grown in prominence and online shopping has made searching for a special deal so easy, many more shops and indeed businesses launch ‘deals’ well ahead of the big day. In fact Black FiveDay now lasts a week if not a fortnight! This year Black Friday falls on November 24 2017, and is always the day after Thanksgiving in the US, officially marking the start of the festive holiday shopping season. Its origins stem from being the day on which retailers begin to turn a profit, or are in the ‘black’. Traditionally aimed at electronics, TVs, clothing, toys, all sorts of bargains are now available at their lowest prices of the year, so say. In 2010, the online retail giant Amazon introduced the event to the UK. Owned by America’s biggest retailer Walmart, Asda followed suit in 2013. Cyber Monday is on November 27 and used to be a separate event in its own right until 2015 when it merely became an extension to the Black Friday weekend. One could think that the gains made in November are cancelled out by reduced transactions in the shorter December month, as customers have already bought their seasonal gifts, often at lower prices. So in order to turn this risk into a positive, you need to view Black Friday as the beginning of a campaign that will keep people coming to you throughout the final months of the year, and into the new one. Published articles discuss the psychology of Black Friday and suggest that offering ‘limited time only’ deals can keep people coming to you, and the momentum and awareness that Black Friday gives, when done well, potentially can make future engagements even more successful. As thousands of retailers cut prices and customers are actively willing to spend their money, it’s just a question of directing this to your business to drive sales upwards. Last year we 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 and Centre for Retail Research, of which half was taken online, confirming the dominance of the digital high street. Mobile phones are the most popular channel for purchasing goods in the UK, with 64% of purchases taking place on mobile devices, as compared to 48% in 2015 (source: ChannelAdvisor). Last year John Lewis saw a 21% spike in sales through mobile phones between 8am and 9am as people shopped online on their way to work. Consumer psychology says it’s all about our brains and a chemical called dopamine that is linked to human desire and eventually addiction, and is released in a pleasurable surge that people experience whilst doing something thrilling, like buying a bargain priced TV! So we need to ensure that our campaigns trigger the release of dopamine so we don’t lose out to competitors on Black Friday, by offering the most tempting and exciting deals that cannot be resisted. Make sure you are ready for the surge in awareness and online transactions with your sales and website resources and that Cyber Weekend is a positive boost for your business. I know it is for us in the hydration and wellbeing sector where we promote our best offers, limited editions and lowest prices in the year!