What’s the difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Traditionally the first Friday after Thanksgiving – a nod to its American roots – Black Friday is a day packed full of big promotions and all-out marketing campaigns from money-hungry retailers.

Imagine the queues. The stampedes. The in-store arguments. I don’t know about you, but waiting around in the freezing cold for shops to open at the crack of dawn doesn’t sound that appealing.

That’s why many of us wait for Cyber Monday to kick in before splashing the cash. Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year; it’s rife with major discounts and incredible deals for customers who prefer to shop for steals from the comfort of their sofa. And this year, it falls on Monday 26th November.

Amongst all the sensationalist hype, there are certainly plenty of bargains to be had for customers – but if you’re a small to medium sized online retailer, is it worth jumping on the bandwagon and trying to generate better profits in the run-up to Christmas? Or should you sit tight and wait for all the madness pass you by?

To help you make your mind up, we’ve taken a look at the pros and cons of Cyber Monday for smaller online retailers.


The Pros

You should use Cyber Monday to your advantage if…


  • You want to make the most of all that contagious enthusiasm.

Love it or loathe it, Cyber Monday gets people spending. You can use the platform to appeal to people who are either trying to get their mitts on cut-price Christmas gifts, or who fancy treating themselves in the lead-up to the holidays.

  • You need to get rid of some old stock.

If you’ve got surplus products from previous seasons and you need to clear some space in your office or warehouse, Cyber Monday gives you a great excuse to run an aggressive campaign on out-of-date items and generate some extra cash.

  • You want to establish yourself as a viable alternative to your competitors.

Shoppers are willing to be much more adventurous on Black Friday, and this feeds through to Cyber Monday. They’ll be open to shopping with online retailers they wouldn’t normally consider – especially if the price is right. This gives you a great opportunity to entice customers who would normally spend with one of your competitors, and show them why you’re more deserving of their money.


The Cons

You should be wary of running a Cyber Monday campaign if…


  • You haven’t got the clout to compete with other retailers.

Be honest with yourself. If you don’t yet have the kind of profile that means you’re going to be able to cut through at least some of the noise that’s being generated by your biggest rivals, you may not be ready to run a large-scale Cyber Monday campaign just yet.

It will happen – but maybe now’s not the right time.

  • You’re not willing to cut your prices significantly.  

Your audience are going to be ultra-price-sensitive on Cyber Monday. But if you’re more concerned about coming across as a premium brand, and perhaps maintaining the air of exclusivity that surrounds your products, the worst thing you can do is de-value your stock just to mimic your competitors’ pricing strategies. At best, this will confuse loyal customers; at worst, it will weaken your brand’s integrity. And your brand is much more important to you than an unsustainable spike in sales.

  • You haven’t got the time or resources to make a good go of your campaign.

Most marketers agree that when it comes to Cyber Monday, you’re either in or you’re out. A poorly executed Cyber Monday campaign will do far more damage to your business than not getting involved at all.

So, before you jump in feet first, think about whether your business is ready to handle such an intense shopping period. Consider whether you’re really in a position to push your products to the masses, and if so, whether you have the capabilities to cope with an (albeit temporary) influx of sales.

Have you got any advice for online retailers who are preparing for this year’s Cyber Monday? Perhaps you’ve been involved in previous campaigns and have some wisdom to share, or maybe you’re a marketer with plenty of experience in managing Cyber Monday campaigns? Either way, we’d love to hear your pros and cons of Cyber Monday for today’s small to medium sized online retailers! Email us on info@indy-consultancy.co.uk or tweet us @IndyConsultancy with your thoughts.