Seven years ago Black Friday hit the UK in full force with small and large retailers running promotions in order to encourage consumers to spend, spend, spend – and not just on the day itself! Every year we get asked how we’re approaching the period as a sustainable brand and 2021 is no different..
Black Friday is considered to be highly unsustainable - it has a growing reputation for excessive consumption and greed. We've all seen the crazy videos of stampedes - thousands of wild-eyed bargain hunters trampling over each other to fill their trolleys with TVs and vacuums by the dozen. So, by its very nature Black Friday is incompatible with what we do and everything we represent. Or is it?
The Anti Black Friday Movement
The way businesses approach Black Friday varies considerably. Despite the fact that Black Friday continues to grow (£6bn was spent online in the UK last year, up from £5.6bn in 2019) the number of businesses choosing to opt out is also growing.
Large and small companies across the globe are shunning Black Friday, but their approaches are very different. Some keep prices exactly the same, maintaining that they offer great deals all year round, so why would Black Friday be any different? Some choose to double their prices - and other campaigns encourage you to simply buy nothing at all, in a protest against the excessive consumption that Black Friday has come to represent.
LCP Consulting says "The majority of UK retailers claim that Black Friday is margin erosive and unprofitable. However, perceived competitive pressure leads many to honour the tradition despite the prospect of short-term losses and the potential for disruptions to the business."
Why is Black Friday considered unsustainable?
- It encourages over-consumption
- It encourages cheap consumption - and someone in the production chain is often having to pay that cost
- Black Friday is frantic and frenzied. Pretty much the antithesis of the conscious, considered approach that we take here at UpCircle!
- It is actually unprofitable for most businesses
- Black Friday usually hurts small independent businesses as they cannot compete with the larger firms due to their higher cost base
- More shopping, means more transport, packaging, emissions etc.
So, you can see how Black Friday is typically a time of mindless, rather than mindful consumption - pretty much the antithesis of the conscious and considered approach we take here at UpCircle. However, we've found a way to make Black Friday work.
Here's our approach:
- Every Friday is Black Friday at UpCircle
We’re encouraging mindful shopping throughout November with a different offer every Friday. The bombardment of "BUY THIS IMMEDIATELY!" offers wherever you look over Black Friday is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed. Which is why we're slowing things down and bringing calm to the chaos. Each Friday we're offering a new offer. We believe this will enable UpCirclers to make pre-planned (not panicked) purchases.
2. We want to see an UpCircle product in every home
As a company we are trying to maximise our positive impact on the world. We genuinely believe that our products are better than mainstream alternatives due to their sustainability credentials – our company is vegan, cruelty-free, upcycled, organic, 99% plastic free, handmade and all natural. If by offering honouring Black Friday we convert one consumer who has been on the side-lines about our brand into a loving loyal customer, then we're one step closer to achieving our bigger mission.
3. Did someone say refills?!
We're very proud to be a circular business and this year even our packaging became circular, with the launch of our Return, Refill, Reuse scheme. In our first three months of launching we saved over 5,000 pieces of packaging! By including our (already discounted) refills in our Black Friday offers, we're hoping to save even more packaging and recruit more UpCirclers into our refill revolution.
4. Sustainable savings from start to finish
Our discount is one which is sustainable for us. We are offering a discount that we as a business can absorb. We want to offer customers the opportunity to buy our products at a lower price than any other time of the year, but not to the extent that it is to the detriment of our brand's progression. We are personally absorbing the full cost of Black Friday. Nobody further down our supply or production chain is taking the hit. We have seen brands offering 70% + discounts. We can't and won't offer price cuts that extreme. It does not align with our ethics. It also begs the question - if you can afford to price cut that much, are you charging too much in the first place? Our offers are responsible, realistic and reasonable.
5. There is no "one-size-fits-all"
Every offer throughout November is unique, just like all our wonderful UpCirclers are. For some of us a free refill will be the winner, whilst for others the 'buy more, save more' offer will come out trumps. We know everyone's situation and priorities are different, which is why we're offering different discounts every week.
6. Give the people what they want!
We've been asked constantly what our plans are for Black Friday for WEEKS! We simply can't ignore what our customers have been asking for. We're proud to offer a great loyalty scheme and frequent promotions all year round, but these offers are a Slowvember exclusive.
By participating we are not trying to encourage greed or a throwaway culture, we simply hope that by offering great deals throughout November we are enticing people to make BETTER choices. And we just might grow our family of UpCirclers a little, too!
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