How to determine what discounts to offer for Black Friday

How to determine what discounts to offer for Black Friday
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With Black Friday right around the corner, now is the time to determine what discounts to offer to both first-time and repeat students. But if you’re new to your online school or the products you’re offering, you might not know what Black Friday pricing you should offer for the biggest shopping season of the year. Sometimes there’s a fine line between offering excellent deals to your customers and selling products at a loss. Keep in mind, some of the discount strategies below will fit your online business, while others might not. Some discounts work well for coaching or courses. In contrast, others might be better if you’ve got physical products you sell, like merch.

Let’s discuss how you can determine what discounts you should offer for Black Friday to maximize profitability and customer satisfaction.

7 ways to adjust your Black Friday pricing

1. Percent-based discounts

Percent-based discounts are exactly what they sound like: handy, helpful, and popular discounts that are easy to understand and great for Black Friday sales.

They’re super simple to set up, too; just advertise some of your most profitable products or services at a lower price (by a certain percentage) than they normally are. For example, say that you sell a flagship product for $49.99. With a 20% discount, customers can buy the same product for $39.99.

Percent-based discounts are popular around Black Friday. That’s because customers can immediately see how much they’ll save. You can also make these more noticeable with strikethrough price tags.

However, you need to take a hard look at your numbers and ensure you can withstand the dip in profits. You can analyze the sales vs. profit ratio from previous years using your accounting software and bank account. Most business bank accounts can be integrated with accounting tools, allowing you to identify your income sources easily.

You may find that percent-based discounts are only wise if you can sell a significantly higher volume of products. You would do that by listing them at a higher discount than you would normally.

Here’s an example:

  • Say that you sell a product for $50.
  • If you list that product on your online store for $30 instead, you’ll need to sell two of those products to make roughly the same amount of profit.
  • If you don’t expect that kind of discount to result in double the normal sales for the product, it’s not a good idea. You could recalculate your discount with a lower percentage to see if it’s more profitable.
black friday pricing

2. Bundle deals

Bundle deals are also popular during holiday sales as they offer more value for money to your customers. They are special Black Friday pricing discounts where you bundle different yet similar or related items together in a single purchase. For instance, maybe you sell coaching and courses. You can bundle these two products by offering a mini course with each coaching purchase made during Black Friday week.

You don’t just have to offer free bundles, either. For example, you might offer two similar products, both at a slight discount, if a customer purchases them both in the same transaction.

Before deciding whether this discount option makes sense for your business, you need to look at your numbers and expected sales. If used unwisely, you could end up giving away a lot of items for free and experiencing a Black Friday shopping season “in the red” instead of “in the black.”

3. Referral sales or discounts

There’s no better time to get people referring their friends and family to your store than around the Black Friday shopping season. You can advertise special sales or discounts for those who refer new customers to your brand to encourage more purchases.

Say that, for example, you run a subscription-based business. You can give everyone who successfully refers a new paying customer to your product one free month of subscription. This is a great way to broaden your customer base. And a way to do it without losing money. After all, each free month of subscription you hand out is paid for by new months of subscriptions from fresh customers.

Before advertising the deal, determine whether your customers will take full advantage of it. You should also be careful with the terms and conditions of the sale. Make sure that new customers stick around for at least one subscription cycle before giving the free deal or discount to the referring customer to keep your finances stable.


4. Shipping discounts

Shipping discounts are extremely popular around Black Friday, and for a good reason. If you have a physical product you sell online, you could take advantage of this offer. Many people use Black Friday to shop online, and shipping discounts (or offers for free shipping) are good ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

However, offering free or discounted shipping means you have to foot the bill for all those transportation costs. Make sure that the expected profits from selling more units or subscriptions will compensate for those extra operating expenses. Otherwise, you’ll run your business at a loss during this critical time.

One great way to ensure this discount works for your brand is to only offer shipping discounts or free shipping for customers who spend a certain amount of money.

5. Free trial or demo offers

Is your business model based on a subscription or software service? Then free trials and demos are perfect for your holiday offers. Free trials and demos are more likely to be checked out during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as people are looking for Christmas gifts.

Just make sure the free trials and demo offers aren’t too generous. For example, a free trial for one month could result in people perpetually making new accounts to use your software platform without ever paying you a cent.

6. VIP discounts

Have a VIP or loyalty program? Consider offering special discounts or sales to those loyalty program members. These can be fairly generous and incentivizing. You want to keep these core consumers happy and satisfied during this important shopping season.

VIP discounts can include free shipping (exclusively for loyalty members, of course), major percentage-based discounts, or special bundles. Be smart about what your loyalty program members want when crafting these accounts or sales.

7. Personalized offers

Lastly, take advantage of digital marketing to send personalized Black Friday discounts and offers to previous customers via email. Personalized offers, such as product recommendations or discounts on favorite, repeat purchases, can do a lot for building relationships with customers. Of course, make sure these personalized offers aren’t too generous and that they incentivize further shopping.

A perfect example of a personalized offer is free shipping if the recurring customer spends at least $30 on their favorite items. In many cases, your regular customers will tell themselves that they were already planning to shop at your store. So they might as well do it now when they can take advantage of the special offer!

Wrapping up Black Friday discounts

As you can see, there are lots of different discounts and special deals you can offer your customers or students to make you Black Friday pricing appealing. Some of the discounts above might be more applicable to your coaching and courses. While others might work better if you have physical products you sell too. But consider each of the above discounts and deal examples carefully alongside your bottom line, operating expenses, and other factors. To maximize success, analyze your finances carefully so you can offer stellar deals that don’t break the bank.

Nahla Davies

Nahla Davies, Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.

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