Celerity’s Pick Of Black Friday Email Innovation

  • Posted: 4th December 2015
  • Written by:

    Lizi Zipser

On Black Friday every retailer from Fashion to Homeware, Automotive to Consumer Goods tried impressing us into spending with them instead of the competition.

With such a small window, time was tight and optimisation of subject lines, email content and understanding what would make your customers click through and complete a purchase was more crucial than ever when competition for their attention is so fierce.

We’ve taken a minute to highlight some examples of the email communications we liked the most:


“Last Call for £12! Black Friday Blowout Ends Today!”

Udemy the online course portal showed some brilliant practice – price in the subject line, and original price strikethroughs really showed how much I’ll be saving (£155 down to £12!). Well done Udemy – you’ve got £12 off me!

Many retailers would be concerned about slashing prices so heavily, but without a physical cost for fulfilment, Udemy have taken this opportunity to essentially make almost no profit but instead get me into the habit of using their content – which means my potential lifetime value just went up. And you know what – at £12 I’m ok with my new-found increased propensity to buy full price courses in future…


“This is it! Offer 1: An EXTRA 10% off, 4 hours only – just for you!”

Wallis went all out – splitting their Black Friday campaign into several parts. Their whole site was discounted for Black Friday, but customers on the newsletter also received a different offer every 4 hours. You were incentivised to order early (8am-12pm), but could also see what discount were coming up later in the day to have control over what to order and when you should order it. Well done Wallis – I’m looking forward to my new red Christmas party dress!


“Happy Black Friday eve!”

Nice use of counters from Very.co.uk and a good warm up series to get customers thinking ahead of the day and get ready to shop as soon as the sale starts. The counter is at 00:00:00:00 by the time I’ve written this post, but I’m sure it made an impression on anyone who opened and got a real time experience and a real sense of urgency.

(P.S. – our lead email developer is obsessed with real time email components – so if your campaign needs a bespoke feature in a campaign that no-one else can build – give us a shout!)

Premiere Inn

“£39-£79 London rooms – it’s always Purple Friday at Premier Inn!”

By Comparison, Premiere Inn decided to reclaim Black Friday and rename it Purple Friday – but more importantly take the opportunity to emphasis to me that I can get these prices throughout the year because ‘Every Friday is Purple Friday’. A rolling Gif as the hero image also made this email stand out in terms of a creative way of highlighting its main unique selling points. Simple but effective messaging tweak to their ongoing email activity which runs throughout the year…

National Trust Online Shop

“Get your antidote to Black Friday”

Our client the National Trust went with a different tactic – encouraging their supporters to stay at home and focus on Christmas shopping. Instead of additional discount codes and in addition to free delivery on orders over £50 – they offered supporters a complementary box of cocoa dusted truffles with every purchase. You’ve got to admit they’ve got class!

The key to success from these campaigns is planning ahead and testing your strategy in small scale ahead of the big day – that way when it’s peak time, you know your messaging, creative and timing are going to be optimised.

Now What?

If you’re still hoping to maximise your conversions before the Christmas rush – see what you can learn from how your campaign went, and test / apply it to your Christmas activity. Yes it might change your Christmas plans – be brave and change it according to what your customers are telling you with their clicks (or lack of them).

In the shorter term, acknowledging many customers wouldn’t have purchased on the weekend (statistically it must be a majority of the country!) and capturing anyone who would have purchased but didn’t get around to it is also a good strategy. Many fewer communications were sent on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday as opposed to Black Friday itself, and even fewer as the week progresses – so there is less competition…

So if you still have stock and haven’t bombarded your customers several times a day during the weekend rush – think about this week as the rest of your sector has done the awareness raising job for you!


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