Alice Bedwell
Alice Bedwell
Posted 29 November 2023

The Best of Black Friday 2023

Where we landed

In this blog, we take a look at the numbers as well as some of the best campaigns from Black Friday 2023. Kicking off earlier than ever this year, retailers like John Lewis launched their Black Friday sale at the very beginning of November, reporting a hike in year-on-year sales and footfall.

Holding out for ‘Best and final’ offers

But as the end of November loomed, nearly half of the 80 retailers polled by IMRG said their Black Friday sales were “below expectations”. The question is: was this a surprise? For most consumers, this isn’t their first rodeo. It’s very much accepted that the first deal you’re offered won’t necessarily be the best, so have we witnessed a ‘hold-out culture’ where shoppers are quite literally holding firm for the best deal? 

Fast-forward to Black Friday itself and consumers had spent:

  •  A record $9.8 billion online on Black Friday, up 7.5% from last year’s figures in the US
  • £1.04 billion and an additional 2.41 billion pounds over the following three days in the UK

Looking at store visits:

  • Shop visits were up by 4.6% compared to last year in the US
  • Although many retailers reported an increase in footfall in the UK and more of a buzz in the streets this year, according to Retail Week, store footfall was down 1.6%.

Website traffic winners:

  • Chinese marketplace Temu saw a phenomenal 74,150% year-on-year growth (the business had not long launched this time last year, however)
  • Sephora UK saw an incredible 132% growth
  •, now owned by Boohoo, saw a 46% jump, according to SimilarWeb, which analyzed Black Friday traffic for over 1,000 UK retailers.

We’ll be taking a deeper dive into Cyber Monday in our next blog, but it looks like the last day of the retail event might just be the saving grace of BFCM 2023.

BFCM at Ometria

We’re thrilled to say Ometria exceeded all previous records this year and we helped retailers deliver:

  • 120m emails on Black Friday itself
  • 367m emails across the BFCM period
  • A delivery rate of 99.4% across BFCM 

With still more analysis to be done and numbers to be crunched, we wanted to pull together some of the best examples this Black Friday 2023 to continue to inspire messaging for the holidays and beyond.

The best of Black Friday 2023

The build-up

Gearing your customers up for Black Friday can take many different forms. Gift guides have always been a successful way to build up excitement and plant the seeds for wishlists. In fact, emails featuring gift guides generate a 48% higher transaction rate compared to other promotions. We included an example of a brand that nailed the gift guide experience.

Wolf and Badger launched their gift guide in the second week of October, which highlighted core gifting categories such as homeware, festive decor, and tableware. They also gifted free delivery for loyal customers using Ometria’s hidden email block, only visible to the brand’s loyal segment.

Another fun way to drum up excitement is to experiment with your communication format, testing different approaches. A less commonly used email format can help you stand out in the run-up to Cyber Week. Here, Astrid & Miyu test out plain text emails while rewarding their loyal members with early access to promotional shopping. This 1:1 email instead of email block approach helps them stand out amongst the crowd.

The three-pronged approach

Another way to build excitement this Black Friday 2023 came from teaser messaging. Adding sale dates and wishlist CTAs helps foster engagement ahead of the day and Edge of Ember is a great example of a brand that used multiple tactics and touchpoints to encourage engagement with Black Friday. Not only did they encourage wishlist creation and include their best-selling products, but they also gave their customers a link to add the sale to their calendar.

Members’ special treatment 

One of the best ways to reward your loyal customers is to let them know they get VIP treatment. After all, members of loyalty programs tend to generate 12-18% more revenue growth per year than non-members. 

Helping your customers unlock early access to Black Friday sales is one way to provide the VIP experience. Mejuri offered 20% off everything ahead of the wider Black Friday sale, with membership perks including exclusive products, free shipping, priority sale access, and a birthday treat.

The wishlist follow-up 

Encouraging your customers to update their wishlists ahead of the BFCM rush is one of the best ways of encouraging positive engagement. But, using this data in a personalized way is arguably even more important. In the example below, Wolf & Badger send useful wishlist updates with drop-in-price messaging with FOMO-inducing copy. This approach during the run-up to Black Friday is a really effective way to stay top of mind with messages customers really want to receive.

Getting the cross-channel experience right

Knowing that Black Friday takes place in more places than just the inbox is key. Personalizing the web experience is a great way to drum up excitement before the big day. In this example from Photobox below, the webpage pulls a personalized homepage banner with a recently viewed product all in the same eye line as the Black Friday discount. This is a great way to get your customers feeling understood and your brand staying top of mind this season.

Powerful segmentation

We absolutely love Poundland’s use of segmentation on their Candy Cane Land email, segmenting by customers who had recently viewed the Christmas collection vs customers who had previously bought the Christmas collection.

They also adapted their subject line based on viewed, ordered, and everyone else, updating their product recommendations to include “recently viewed” as well. Plus, look how pretty…

Using GIFs

Another brand using the ‘set your alarms’ messaging was Missoma, sending a 30% off everything message on Sunday 19th November, using a memorable GIF for the main hero image, making the content dynamic. Adding the calendar functionality as well as VIP access to the sale offer before the general public with VIPs receiving a higher discount was a winning message this year.

Alternative Black Friday Messaging

It’s important to remember that not every brand does Black Friday, and letting your customers know why can be a nice opportunity to build brand love. Take a look at some of the examples below from ME+ EM and Pangaia as they position discounts and donations with purpose this season.

Similarly, Armedangels uses the run-up to Black Friday to offer a monthly discount on Slow-Vember. The brand aims to remove the anxiety of this type of event and allows customers to slow down and make considerate choices.

Black Friday comes with its unique challenges and lessons. If you’re there thinking you could have been better prepared, or that your initial results are looking a little disappointing, we’re here. Find out how you can join a community of retailers consistently experiencing smooth and successful BFCM powered by Ometria. Get in touch here.

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