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On this episode, Taylor and Richard dive into the 2023 BFCM Offer Database, a massive spreadsheet that documents Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers from 700+ ecommerce brands.

Discussion includes why you definitely should run an offer on Black Friday, a surprising truth about Buy One, Get One offers, and the role of novelty in “breaking the noise” on the biggest weekend of the year.

⁠Show Notes:
  • Purchase the full BFCM Offer Database here.
  • If you’re a $10M - $100M ecommerce brand with a Growth Quotient (GQ) of 130 or greater, we’ll cover $25k of ad spend when you become a CTC client. Apply here.
  • The Ecommerce Playbook mailbag is open — email us at to ask us any questions you might have about the world of ecomm.

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[00:00:00] Richard Gaffin: Hey folks. Welcome to the E-Commerce Playbook Podcast. I'm your host, Richard Gaffin, director of Digital Product Strategy here at Common Thread Collective. I'm joined as I always am by Taylor Holiday, who's the CEO here at CTC. Taylor, what's going on today?

[00:00:13] Taylor Holiday: Well, I've I'm on a new diet, Richard.

[00:00:16] Richard Gaffin: Get it

[00:00:16] Taylor Holiday: moved out of a bulking phase into a cutting phase here, and so I'm on, I'm on Let's see, about 300 milligrams of caffeine and no food. So I expect to be high energy today.

[00:00:26] Richard Gaffin: Excellent. Sorry. So that's the diet. Caffeine, 

[00:00:29] Taylor Holiday: Well, it's just, I, yeah, yeah. That's, that's pretty much it.

Exactly. It's just sustained by caffeine. Yeah,

[00:00:35] Richard Gaffin: Interesting. Moving into the cut as we go into the colder months. That's an 

[00:00:38] Taylor Holiday: that's right. Exactly. I very contrarian, I like to bulk up in the summer


[00:00:42] Richard Gaffin: know. Well 

[00:00:43] Taylor Holiday: cut in the winter. 

[00:00:44] Richard Gaffin: me, I'm, I'm going into a cut phase myself and that's just 'cause I 

[00:00:47] Taylor Holiday: Oh, nice. 

[00:00:48] Richard Gaffin: the cut phase until it happens to be the holidays and now, now I'm finally gonna do it.

So I dunno. 

[00:00:52] Taylor Holiday: Well, it just sucks. The cut phase sucks, so you just, you kind of put it off

and being overindulgent is much more fun.

[00:00:59] Richard Gaffin: So true. And speaking of which, let's indulge in some talking about some Black Friday offers. So, k kind of the, the, the, the main theme today is today we're dropping as we have for the last two years, or last three years really. The Black Friday Cyber Monday offer database.

So this takes the top 700 brands from 2PM's, DTC power list, and then on the day itself. We have a team of people who goes online and screenshots every single Black Friday offer on the day itself. And then we compile all that information into a database. We make it sortable by vertical. We make it sortable by discount type, whatever.

And we combine some learnings from that data or we create learnings from that data. And then we also sell the data itself and also the, the library of about this year's. More than 3000 screenshots that go along with that data. Right. So the thrust of what Taylor and I wanna talk about today is some of the learnings from the data this year and kind of turn that into to, to a conversation about what your Q four offer strategy should look at.

Because I think this data is pretty telling about like, what. You should actually do, or what makes sense for Black Friday Cyber Monday. So let's kick it off. We're gonna go point through, point by point through this article or the article that's going to be published today, I believe it's the September the 27th when we're recording this.

And, and just sort of talk through some of our learnings here. But the, the one I wanna start with is, in some ways the most interesting one because this is the only data point that really fundamentally changed year over year. Was the fact that the most common Black Friday offer type last year was no offer at all.

Almost 30% of brands on this list ran no Black Friday offer whatsoever. Generally speaking, the site-wide discount is the winner, but the site-wide actually dropped to second place at about 25%. So Taylor, let's kick it off there. What does this mean? And does this mean everybody should run No. Offer this Black Friday?

[00:02:58] Taylor Holiday: So one, it's important to understand, we see our role in the ecosystem of DTC as context. The benefit of an agency is we have a really broad view of things. One of the things I see happen over all the time is that it is very easy for an anecdote from an individual brand to become the driving narrative for the entire industry, and that is really dangerous. And so this is a great example of a narrative violation, which is that I, I'll say myself never would've anticipated this to come back as the data point in. Looking at last year, like if I think about my experience or my anecdotal understanding of last year, I never would've thought that more brands ran no discount.

But when you have multiple years of the same 800 brands and thousands of examples of offers, you can track these things in a way that actually gives you clarity of what's really occurring across all of them. And so it was last year we saw an increase in the amount of brands that ran no discount. Now, I don't know, knowing some of those brands, I have intimate knowledge of some of the brands that I've seen that have changed that this was a great idea.

I don't know I can't comment on the performance relative to expectation for these brands, but it, I think there tends to be, in this moment, a grand temptation to be contrarian

[00:04:18] Richard Gaffin: Mm-hmm.

[00:04:19] Taylor Holiday: is that it feels like. I have to find some way to cut through the noise of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And we've seen, you know, the r e I example is rooted in everyone's head where they got a bunch of PR for shutting down their site saying Go outside or whatever. And so we feel this pressure to do something different. And I notice this a lot in entrepreneurs, especially with like, ads are a great example where sometimes we forget that we're advertising to somebody who doesn't know us.

And I remember this at klo, we used to have, at klo we had this general intro to the brand that was you know, a, a silicone wedding ring was the, you know, the wedding ring for the active lifestyle.

And it, we had to sort of generally introduce this idea, right? And then eventually you sort of forget that you're still introducing it because you've run that ad

so much that you're like, I have to say something new and novel all the time. But you always have to remain in this introductory phase. The same is sort of true for Black Friday, cyber Monday. Is that because you ran 20% off last year, you feel like I gotta do something different. And there's pressure to do that. And this feels a little bit like me, like an attempt at Contrarianism that I would not actually recommend


[00:05:30] Richard Gaffin: Yeah. I think maybe one of the lessons there, or the thought I was just having was. That still every single year, people are buying. People shop on Black Friday because they want the product. They don't shop for the product because it's Black Friday, if that makes any sense. And so I think that the idea there is like, If you don't make noise, or rather, people are expecting you to do something similar to like a Super Bowl ad in some ways where it's like, oh, it has to be sort of surprising and interesting and, and Black Friday is this huge day for advertising, but really it's not.

Black Friday is a day that people get a discount on products that they were expecting to buy or planning to buy for a while, and so. Doing something out of the ordinary, unless it's very specifically brand related or you're big enough to pull it off. Like it just doesn't make sense to do anything other than I think like the sort of set of things that we're gonna walk you through and as we talk in this podcast.

[00:06:19] Taylor Holiday: Here, here's the truth about Black Friday, cyber Monday. Black Friday. Cyber Monday is the realization of a year's worth of commitment to

brand awareness, driving a new customer acquisition. That's what it is. So if you are in a place where you haven't been committed to that, then you're finding yourself scrambling to drive disproportionate value capture relative to the rest of the year.

Year. But, and I'm stealing that line a little bit from Ben at True Classic T, who I, we mentioned that I was on the panel with him last week at at Commerce Roundtable, and that's exactly what he said. He is that Black Friday in this holiday period is just the realization of all the work you've done so far.

[00:06:55] Richard Gaffin: Yeah.

[00:06:56] Taylor Holiday: All the commitment to the top of funnel actions and all the commitment to new customer acquisition so that when you go and you say to everyone, here's our best offer, it's simple, it's clear, it's communicative of the, the product and what someone gets. You satiate a ton of pent up demand and awareness for you and consideration of you in a moment. And it's not about novelty and cleverness, it's about clarity. And realizing all of that work that you've done up ahead of this moment where the cultural demand for buying things meets the awareness of your product in a way that helps you realize a bunch of value.

[00:07:31] Richard Gaffin: Yeah, I think, yeah, the, the only brands for which novelty makes sense is something like Cards Against Humanity. Remember they used to do, they raised their price $5 or whatever, because that's just, that's what people expect and, and in some ways hope for from them. Right. But none of nobody's brand is that.

Right. So, so that novelty aside then, is there a situation or under what circumstances would you say it makes sense to run? No discount.

[00:07:54] Taylor Holiday: You have no inventory

I, I think, I think that's the answer there. There are brands. This is real, right? Like, so if I think about I was just listening to Andrew talking to Curie on their podcast, and they're talking about running out of inventory all the time because something happens like, I don't know their circumstance, so I'm not, but I'm just saying that if you are light on inventory, you wanna maximize the marginal value of every sku. And the reality is you might not need to run a discount to do that,

and so don't

you know, hold your ground, maximize that value capture, but. For most people, I think there are probably, if I were to look at a spectrum of like too much inventory to too little inventory, we're still probably on the too much inventory side. And the likelihood is that running a discount's gonna actually help to sort through some of that problem and turn that back into a cash ahead of the maybe your sort of low or, or the valley of your market, of your revenue

calendar. And so I think most people, it's time to, it's time to push it and go realize as

much that value as you can. 

[00:08:49] Richard Gaffin: yeah. Moral of the story. The solution to the, the amount of noise on Black Friday is not to make no noise whatsoever by having no discount. So 

[00:08:57] Taylor Holiday: So here's a bet. Let's make a bet real fast, Richard, for everybody listening. Do you think it's up or down this year?

[00:09:02] Richard Gaffin: No discounts. 

[00:09:03] Taylor Holiday: none. 

[00:09:03] Richard Gaffin: I think it's down. I think if 

[00:09:05] Taylor Holiday: I. think it's 

[00:09:06] Richard Gaffin: I think it wouldn't, it just like the nu amount of brands for whom it didn't work last year, it's, it's going to sort of make a meaningful impact on what happens this year.

[00:09:13] Taylor Holiday: I wouldn't be surprised if it's down below the 2021 number.

So, let's see, 2021 was 22% of brands ran none. In 2022, it was 29%

ran none. I'm betting the over under. I'm gonna set it the 2021 number, 22% and I'll take the under. I think we see sub 20% of brands run no discount.

[00:09:29] Richard Gaffin: Okay, I'll take I'll take the mild over just over 20%. Okay, so let's walk through then. So if not discounting is not the answer, let's walk through what is the answer. So first off, and this is a point we've made every year, the, the most important thing you can do is make the offer easy. So go sitewide, go.

No coupon con. So maybe dig into this a little bit, Taylor.

[00:09:48] Taylor Holiday: Yeah, so. This is just, again, clarity is the most powerful marketing message and you don't wanna make the user work for it. So coupon codes have this challenge of remembering the coupon code. Now, if you pre-populate the cart with it and things like that, then fine. That sort of reduces the friction for sure.

But the point is just like, make the site 20% off, have all the prices reduced strike. Give them that good visual strike through and make it so that I don't, as the customer have to do any work to realize your discount. You're not trying to make it this gate, this like hurdle I have to climb over to solve some riddle to make it make me get a discount, right?

Make it simple. Reduce the friction and site-wide does that, 20 to 30% off tends to be the sweet spot where people sit sub 20% off doesn't really make a difference. Most of you are running 10 to 15% on your welcome pop email already,

so that sort of Provides the line that you've gotta clear to create some sort of new incentive. And that usually sits in the 20 to 30% off range, in a way that makes it really easy. 20 to 30% off and go from there. What can happen? I say the next, the next most common thing that we see, so if Sitewide is at 25%, right next to it is select SKUs. This is usually where brands are going to sort of pre-bake the margin that they need to protect themselves.

So they're gonna bundle products, they're gonna look at their higher margin products, and they're gonna create a discount on a subset of products for Black Friday Cyber Monday. This is often where you're also trying to liquidate inventory and things like that. So rather than everything being off in a, in a really broad set of skews, Inventory is probably different across all of them, and so maybe then you're like, Hey, we don't, this is our core product.

We're actually gonna sell out of this at holiday at full price. We don't need to run a discount here, so we're gonna take this subset of things and we're gonna discount it. Those two were neck and neck sitewide, 25% off select SKUs, 24% off. That is really just about merchandising the website so that it's very clear and make it really easy for me to access the things that are on discount.

[00:11:45] Richard Gaffin: Hmm. And so, so then you, you kind of touched on point number two, which is to say that less than 20% is not a discount. And I think that raises the point that making noise on Black Friday to some extent is about . Creating contrast with your own brand's messaging throughout the rest of the year as well.

So to that end, like, like you're saying, like, yeah, 10 to 15% discounts usually are available all the time on most brands' websites. So make it deeper than that. And then you kind of touched again on, on the third point, which is about profitability and our, our point here, and in the article itself, it's about guiding you through like how to.

Plan out and forecast Q four so that it remains profitable for you. But I think that kind of gets into the situation where a 20% site-wide discount may not make sense for you in terms of profitability and margin. So maybe talk through a little bit about our points around profitability during this time.

[00:12:38] Taylor Holiday: Yeah, e every year. Here's the thing that's gonna happen.

Drew Sinski has a Twitter thread from post pilot that he's gonna publish about how one year they ran a discount on Black Friday, cyber Monday and lost a bunch of money on the sales. And you're gonna hear these stories and it's gonna be intended to sort of illustrate this point, but a bunch of people are gonna use it as validation to not run discounts.

And I'm telling you that's a bad idea. This is just about being financially prudent with whatever offer you're running. Anytime you run an offer, whether it's Black Friday, cyber Monday, whether it's your Labor Day sale, or whether it's your core customer acquisition offer, ensuring that you understand the marginal value of that sale and the C at which you're acquiring the customer and ensuring that you make money on that is critical to basic.

That's like a basic principle of

new customer acquisition. So guess what? It still applies here and because discounting tends to be the primary mechanism of this moment. Discounting is margin destructive, and so you just have to make sure that you're doing the math about how you set that offer target, how you understand the total variable costs associated with it, and that you make sure that you're planning your targets for acquisition accordingly.

Now, one of the areas I'll tell you that people tend to miss on the, where this gets compressed or screwed up is that. What happens when you discount is actually that a o v goes up because people buy more things. So this is like a, a, a, a

thing that's like not intuitive is that you think that when you run a discount, what happens is the prices get lower so your A O V goes down.

But that's not what happens at all, especially on Black Friday, Saturday. Monday is you increase the discount. A o V goes up because people buy more things. And so what that also does is it can change the dynamics of your shipping. So that maybe there are these thresholds where you move into a different dimm, so like dimensional weight of the product so that your shipping cost increases. So you do do, you do have to do the math of understanding that part. 'cause where I have seen people not do a good job of anticipating is this. So they don't understand that the units per order is gonna go up and so then the box that they're shipping in or the, the way that they're doing their pick pack fees, they're not doing a good job of anticipating that. So that is one part that I would make sure you understand. Is if the units per order go up, how does that affect your fulfillment fees if you're getting charged on a per pick basis? And then how do you think about how you assign cost to the customer in light of that? So that's one area to just take some time and do the math.

[00:14:58] Richard Gaffin: So speaking of which, maybe you can't answer this offhand, I don't know, but what percentage of. Let's say our portfolio of clients or brands and stylists or whatever do you think can handle a 20 to 30% site-wide discount without it being a major profitability issue.

[00:15:13] Taylor Holiday: I mean, all of them can. So, because I bet if we look, and I don't, I don't have this data right in front of me, so I, I should, if we look at the efficiency gain on customer

acquisition in the period, I'm willing to bet it's 20 to 30%, and I can, I can pull this up while we're talking here, but that's the offset here, right?

Is that you're trading an increase in a O V, which is more total marginal dollars and an efficiency gain in. Acquisition through increased conversion rate that offsets the marginal value of the sale. And that, and that's the bet, right? Is that you're saying, we're gonna reduce the margin capture on a cost of goods basis because the price of the product price per unit is gonna come down on the discount. But my efficiency on acquisition and my increase in conversion rate are gonna offset that in a way that wins. And so that, that's, that's what we're all betting on in this period of time. And so every brand, I would say can sustain it. They can.

It's just a matter of really getting clear on the economics and making sure that you're not, now if you have products, like there are some brands that are listening to us, that are retailers and so they are, they have less margin, maybe you have way less gross margin per sku, and so there's just not that much room here and you have to be careful.

So again, be thoughtful, understand your unit economics and make the right decision for, but for us, I would say most brands are now, we have a couple of brands that have a principled, no discount policy. It's just their brand. Ethos and they're committed to that. And so they're, that's what they're

gonna be doing.

They're gonna offer free shipping this holiday, and that's gonna be the best thing that, that a customer gets.

[00:16:42] Richard Gaffin: Yeah. Okay. So to that point, maybe specifically about a o v, we have a 0.4 in this article is around if you can't make the unit economics work, go with the spend x save wire, buy x get Y model, which is another way of, I mean, essentially it's sort of like the gift with purchase model really, which is to say that you're not, you, you're able maybe to manage margin a little bit more.

While still giving people a discount that feels sort of all inclusive or all encompass or encompassing or bigger than normal. So that could be potentially be one tactic around if you can't do a site-wide offer or you don't want to. But that kind of leads into, oh, go ahead.

[00:17:21] Taylor Holiday: Well, so one that was the biggest gainer in terms of percentage increase in offer concept was actually gift with purchase. Or, or no, sorry. Buy, get,

buy get was the largest. And we do this for Bamboo Earth. Right. And here's, here's why. Okay, if your product costs are less than 20%, so in Bamboo's case, our product cost is actually like 13 to 18% per skew. So if you do buy one, get one, that to the customer feels like almost a 100% discount on something.

If I buy one, I get something completely free. High perceived value. The actual cost to us is only 13%, right?

Like, so you're adding on a different margin profile. That, that, that the take rate for us as a business is actually better on a buy one, get one than it is on a 25%

discount. So that is an example where understanding the unit economics can increase to a higher perceived offer for the customer. Buy one, get one is a higher perceived value than 20% off. Yet, it's still a better deal for us as a business in terms of how we make

money. And so for brands where you have low product costs and lots of gross margin per skew, buy one, get one or buy, get something, tends to be a really powerful offer concept.

[00:18:39] Richard Gaffin: and, and is it generally speaking, do you do buy one, get one of anything? Or is it buy one of x, get another one of the same product?

[00:18:47] Taylor Holiday: of the sa of

the same. And that's, that's on the back of two insights. One, it's a technical thing. It makes it way simpler to, to build that mechanism versus them having to make another choice. And then secondarily, you know what the most common second purchase is? In almost every brand, across every product ca category on Earth, it's the same product again. And this, this is true even in like shoes.

A category where you'd think like white sneakers, what's the most common secondary purchase? The same product again.

And that is, that is, I have seen very, very, very few cases where that is not true for a business that the most likely second product a customer is gonna purchase is the same as what they bought on the first.

[00:19:24] Richard Gaffin: Fascinating. 'cause I was gonna say like maybe for Bamboo specifically, it makes sense because it's a cosmetics brand and people need multiple of the same thing. But that's, that's an interesting insight that like ultimately people just want the same thing over and over again. So, 

[00:19:36] Taylor Holiday: There's not a more overrated principle in e-commerce than cross-selling.

It's like it's, it is so overrated in how rare customers will actually cross-sell into new product categories when they come in on a specific one.

[00:19:47] Richard Gaffin: Fascinating. All right. Clip it, Corey. That's, that's a good one. Okay, so then in terms of boosting a o v, which is something we discussed, it's sort of like one of the big advantages of Black Friday building if you're doing, if rather if you're not doing buy one, get one, creating tiers or bundles or something along those lines to sort of guide people towards Building bigger carts, stacking a o v, growing their a o v, that kind of thing.

Any, any insights there on, on bundles and tiers? Because I've observed that this is some, one of the most complicated types of offers and it's hard to understand. So what's your, what's your take on, on the bundle tier type? Mm-hmm.

[00:20:25] Taylor Holiday: I agree. I, I think it's hard to communicate. Now, what's powerful about it is it tends to drive a o v way up, right? So usually what you're doing is a hundred dollars, 20% discount, $200, 30% discount, $400, 40% discount, right? So you're trying to draw people into adding more things. Generally speaking, I'm doing this.

If I have a bunch of inventory to move and I want to increase a bunch of units per order, I want to increase the volume of things that are happening. If my shipping cost doesn't increase substantially when people add more units to their cart, and so I'm offsetting the marginal discount by saving on the shipping side of things.

There's all sorts of reasons why that kind of incentive becomes really valuable. I think you just have to be able to message it clearly, and so if it's 110%, 220%, 330%, 440%, That's simpler. But the second you start asking people 118% and then 200 is 22%, and

then like you're like doing math in their head, that becomes more complicated.

So I think it's just a messaging thing, and I think clarity is what I would encourage more than anything else. You either have to, like, if I were to think about an x y matrix of like clarity and novelty, okay. That may be the most powerful message is something that's novel and clear. If you can come up with something like that. But then I would say the second most valuable is not very novel, but clear. And the worst is like, not novel, not clear. So if I think about each of those quadrants, I just wanna make sure that I'm really high on the clarity spectrum while before I, before I fight for this, like novelty or nuance in it.

'cause it's just like I'm in an email, I'm on my phone, I'm like, what's this offer? I don't understand. It's confusing. Is this good for me? Is it bad for me? You just wanna make sure people


[00:22:03] Richard Gaffin: I, one example I think that kind of hits that novelty and clarity piece is I wanna say it was Cotopaxi maybe two years ago, did one where each item that was in a specific tier of like, you know, you get X amount. A hundred dollars off this set of products, $200 off this set of products. And then if you bundled them, you would get a certain discount.

But it was all visual. So it was basically like on the website you saw sort of a hundred dollars off whatever. Then images of the specific products that fit into those tiers. And then you could sort of build your cart and it would do the math for you in the cart to the side. And so I think like one, one thing that I've observed about the the tiering system is that it's really hard to explain in words.

So if there's any way that you can not use words and use visuals to illustrate what the tiering looks like, I think that that's probably the way to go. And on the only real way to make it make sense off the bat, I think, So, speaking of visuals, let's go to 0.6 here. This is a little detour into the world of creative unlock joy with holiday themed aesthetics is how we've headlined this now that's just in some ways it's mere observation that obviously like most brands when they run Black Friday sales are speaking to the moment it's Black Friday, the holidays are here, time to get gifts.

Maybe speak a little bit about like what your sense of the importance of that is.

[00:23:20] Taylor Holiday: Yeah. This is, this is where I actually have this part of me that is, is a brand marketer that I really believe that this falls into this category of, I don't have definitive data to prove it. And if I were running a brand, it's just something I would care about. 'cause I would care about showing that we understand how to meet the customer where they are all the time.

That would just be a principle of mind of like presenting our brand in a way that fits into the life of our customers in a way that is consistent with the moment. But thinking about how your product visually meets into the season, in the holiday season, into the aesthetic of people's lives, I believe matters.

It's the Starbucks

Red Cup, right? It's just that there's an idea about what we have culturally is how we behave, how we decorate our homes, how we engage in this moment that I wanna be a part of for the specific customer subset that

I'm serving. I always want to help them to see us in their life. So the more that I can understand that and visually present that, I think the better that you're going to be.

[00:24:18] Richard Gaffin: and maybe, 

[00:24:18] Taylor Holiday: so, 

[00:24:19] Richard Gaffin: go ahead. 

[00:24:20] Taylor Holiday: go ahead, sorry. 

[00:24:20] Richard Gaffin: gonna say maybe that that kind of speaks to, or, or made me think like that, that the place in some ways for . Novelty or for feed breaking, whatever is isn't the creative itself. Obviously like everybody's gonna have a similar holiday message, but making it yours specific to you, specific to your brand, and then make these, make sure that the offer isn't novel.

The offer needs to not be novel, but maybe the creative benefits from a little bit more of that, if that makes sense.

[00:24:46] Taylor Holiday: That's right, that's right. I think that clarity plus seasonal

moment really makes sense. There's, here's what I would go do. There's a woman her name is Salma on Twitter and she has been doing a lot of awesome examples of mid journey plus AI product photography. Where what she's showing is how to use AI and mid journey to create the landscape or background imagery that you can then set your product into. And she's doing examples all the time. And this to me is an example where, you know what's really hard to do? Is to actually plan and produce a photo shoot where you have snow or where you have, you know, a beautifully decorated home that is holiday themed. But this is where I think AI is going to transform brands and bring them into landscapes and settings and backgrounds and flat lays and all these different elements. So I would go look at what she's doing and this, this is a way that I think if you wanted to dabble into leveraging a tool like Mid Journey or what Chat cheap. Chat, G B T just rolled out with Dolly. Like this to me is an an area where getting into these background settings and trying to figure out how they might work for your product is a big opportunity.

[00:25:56] Richard Gaffin: Yeah. Okay, so let's, let's move on then to, to our next point, which is 0.7 here. Which is this idea about reserving your best offers for email s m s and dmm. And so again, this is partially an observation as much as it is a suggestion, but one of the, the examples that we have here is around Dollar Shave Club who didn't run a Black Friday sale, but then.

Did run a huge sale that was only messaged through its email list. Now of course, dollar Shave Club is pretty big, so maybe they can afford to do that more than others can. But maybe talk through that, like the value, maybe more generally the value of email on Black Friday. 'cause I know that's been, that's been a huge point for us in the past.

[00:26:32] Taylor Holiday: So one of the things I like to do is I like to think about rewarding customers within the context that are your loyal people. Inside of the general offer. So one thing I would like to do is site-wide, 20% off, and then within that, take subsets of your SKUs and to your email and s m s list only offer them exclusive plus ops on that idea

for the next four hours, 35% off this subset of things.

For email and SS M Ss subscribers only give them a reason to stay tuned into you through the season. Through Black Friday, cyber Monday. So over the course of these, you know, four days, we have this 25% off site-wide clarity for the general consumer. Easy to understand on the website, but in these channels where you can communicate a little bit more specificity every four to eight hours, again, depending on your capacity to manage this on a creative production schedule. Do these special drops, like leverage this idea that like, Ooh, I should be checking in on this s m s all the time to see when the thing that I want might hit an additional plus up moment. And so I think that that's something that Dollar Shave Club did really well, is they, they made people who were on the email and s m s list. Feel like they were on the inside, that there was something special about them by receiving these exclusive offers inside of that channel. And

I think that's a good strategy. I think it's a good way to, to merchandise or differentiate your customer base a little bit.

[00:27:59] Richard Gaffin: Right, and that, that then plays in, of course, to 0.8 here, which is integrating v i p and loyalty programs for L T V as well. Again, just yeah, that idea of rewarding people for sticking around and for coming to you on Black Friday. Go ahead.

[00:28:11] Taylor Holiday: Now the thing I do wanna say though, I think you have to be careful that what you should do is give your most loyal, most likely to purchase customers a bigger discount than everybody else. So I would be careful with that.

[00:28:25] Richard Gaffin: Mm-hmm.

[00:28:26] Taylor Holiday: So instead, I would think about whether it's early access so that they make sure that they get the best inventory. That's a good idea. Or giving them, again, exclusive drop offers on subsets of products. But, I don't think that the necessarily, the best way to create the most value is to give your best customers a bigger

discount because they probably don't need it. And so that's, I think you run a little bit of a risk of being too margin destructive.

So I like early access to the sales so that they have the first pick of the inventory, if there's gonna be any inventory risk. And then I also like special plus ups on subsets, skews, or exclusive products, but I don't like bigger discount for your core


[00:29:05] Richard Gaffin: . Okay, so then I think we pop onto nine and 10 are pretty, are we've sort of touched on a little bit. So the point of around nine is observing certain brands who were able to message around the moment in a way that spoke to their specific audience. So we already touched on that a little bit. The Starbucks red cup was one example.

And then, A couple of brands. So r e I was the big one that you pointed out as well. Highsnobiety, is that how you, I've never heard that sit out loud. But them as well ran basically a sort of an anti-Black Friday campaign as well. There were a couple of brands who did that. So again, this just sort of speaks to that idea of like, What do, what are your consumers expecting from you?

What's on brand? I mean, we mentioned Cards Against Humanity as well. And then making sure to lean into that and, and break through the noise again with the messaging, but not with the clarity of the offer. Yeah. Anything to add there?

[00:29:56] Taylor Holiday: It's sort of like Trying to be the funny guy when that's not

your brand. You know? It's like if you're a comedian, then tell a joke on

Black Friday. 

[00:30:05] Richard Gaffin: Hmm.

[00:30:05] Taylor Holiday: If you're selling sweaters all year and then you want to turn around and be the like, funny, clever brand, it's gonna, it's gonna miss the moment. So if you're the contrarian brand that's always pressing against culture in the mainstream and you're that's who you are, then yeah, come up with a way to do that in this moment, right?


you're a brand that's raging against consumerism, then sure, you probably have a message to share here on this day of consumerism. But if that's not you,

Run a discount and capture value and give your customers what they want, you know? And so I think it's just a matter of continuity of brand in a way that, yeah, we should expect Cards against Humanity to do something ridiculous.

The game is ridiculous, you know? And I think like if you look at number 10, when we start talking about this idea of gamifying things. Yeah, like shy sty, again, their brand is predicated on ridiculousness. Like that's the brand. And so the sale should be ridiculous. You should almost expect that I have to jump through some insane hoops because that's who wears Christmas suits to Christmas parties.

You know, like, it's like they're, they're on brand for who they are. And so I think that's a lot of it is just, again, be who you are. It's not the moment to deviate significantly from that.

[00:31:10] Richard Gaffin: Right. Cool. So I think, well, I mean, honestly that that does cover all 10 of our points here, but I think, are there any, is there anything specifically that you want to. Maybe dive into a little bit deeper or that we haven't talked about thus far?

[00:31:24] Taylor Holiday: The last thing I, and we're gonna talk a lot about this over

the course of Black Friday, cyber Monday is another trope you're gonna hear besides the Dki discount is you're gonna hear that Black Friday, cyber Monday customers are bad

for you. This is wrong. This is wrong. This data is inaccurate. Okay? What people are gonna try to cite is the decrease in L T V that you get off the customers that you acquire in this period.

We have data around that and it, it does exist and it is small, but that's not how we think about the value of a customer. The value of the customer is relative to their value against the cost to acquire them. And when you look at L T V to CAC of any customer cohort throughout the year, this is actually the best customer. It's the most efficient. When you think about the, that relationship, the efficiency, to acquire them against their value over the long term. It's the best customer that you'll get all year, and that is like the part that is, again, narrative violation. So one of the things I would really encourage you to do, avoid any single anecdote that you read. Seek out the largest sample of data that you can, and then also prioritize into understanding your individual data. What is the value of your customers that you've acquired of this? How can you look at that cohort against the efficiency against so intimately? Understand your data, avoid anecdote, and go get as many customers as you can at this moment.

[00:32:34] Richard Gaffin: Hell yeah. And speaking of data, boy do we have some data for you. So this is again, . Black Friday, cyber Monday offer database is what it's called. It contains, again, information on offers that goes down to offer type, what happened on Black Friday, what happened on Cyber Monday, breaks all the information down by industry vertical and then also contains again, and, and this is honestly one of the biggest values of it, is almost as a swipe file screenshots of 3000 or 3000 screenshots rather, that correspond to the different brands that are in the database that allow you to see exactly what they did.

On Black Friday. And from that to sort of think through exactly what you are going to do this Black Friday. So, check it out. We'll have a link in the show notes for you to get it. It's 99 bucks. Come over to our site and uh, and check it out.

[00:33:17] Taylor Holiday: Yep,

absolutely. 3,152 examples. Sortable it. If you need inspiration now, this is it.

Go get it. 

[00:33:26] Richard Gaffin: to do it. All right folks, thanks again for joining us and we will see you next week.