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06/11/20236 min

Re-thinking Black Friday

Traditionally, Black Friday marks the start of year-end buying and the rush for promotions. But protest movements have been emerging for some time now, and they're becoming more widespread. Buy Nothing Day, Green Friday, Make Friday Green Again … are all initiatives that challenge our consumer society and its excesses. Thus, a growing number of brands are setting themselves apart with differentiating offers and a more responsible commercial strategy. In any case, creativity is needed!

Reflecting on the No Black Friday question

Faced with climate issues and the ecological footprint of overconsumption, Black Friday is increasingly denounced by consumer groups and brands committed to more responsible consumption.

Buy Nothing Day, launched in the 1990s in North America, the United Kingdom, Finland and Sweden, now extends to more than 35 countries. In Spain, the action is largely supported by Ecologistas en Acción.

In France, the Make Friday Green Again collective, initiated by the clothing brand Faguo, encourages rebuilding the foundations of healthier consumption. Each year, as an alternative to Black Friday, it releases a major awareness campaign that's relayed on the vendor sites and in the physical stores of its 1,300 member companies. The campaign even includes a telephone hotline, the greenline, that provides information and advice to people tempted to crack!

This campaign obviously echoes Green Friday, supported by representatives of the European Commission, WWF, ECODES as well as Ecoserveis in Spain, Envie, Altermundi, Refer and Emmaus in France. All groups are mobilized to promote buying local, ethical and responsible products and to taking action to reduce waste.

Another example takes place in Italy, where more and more textile brands are opting for the Fashion Revolution by celebrating Green Week, an entire week dedicated to slow fashion, without reducing prices.

Exchange, repair and share are the new creeds

On the fringes of supersized Black Friday promotions, these initiatives are becoming more and more remarkable. Many companies are choosing alternative or even disruptive campaigns.  Instead of buying, they advocate exchange, repair or engage with social and environmental organizations.

This is the case with Ikea, which strongly emphasizes its buyback and resale programs during Black Friday. We should also note the initiative by Freitag, the famous Swiss brand of bags made from recycled materials which, for the past two years, has decided to close its online store and instead redirect its community to its non-monetized exchange platform.

Freitag is not the only one to shut down or put its site at half-mast.  This is also the case for the Italian agro-cosmetics company Oway and the Spanish company Flamingos Life which produces 100% vegan shoes. Similarly, Deciem, the cosmetics group founded in 2013 in Toronto (The Ordinary & NIOD) has made a habit of closing all its stores and its website for 24 hours.

Another fundamental trend is sharing, which is expressed through donations. The sustainable Rifò brand in Italy, the French brand DCM Jennyfer, and the German brands Baukjen and Isabella Oliver promise to donate a lump sum or a percentage of their sales to a cause of their choice. In France, the HOP (Stop Planned Obsolescence), Zero Waste, Éthique, Les amis de la terre and Planète Mer associations are especially popular.

Finally, faced with extravagant promotional campaigns imported from the United States, some brands no longer hesitate to play the national card, surfing on the expectations of consumers who are increasingly receptive to local consumption. This is the case with the Bleu Blanc Rouge Friday campaign (Blue White and Red Friday), which will be revived this year. Initiated by the water bottle brand Gobi, it uses Black Friday to promote products made in France.

Did you know?

More and more French people are rethinking the origin of their purchases of food (88%), textiles (59%) and home products (56%). Italians, for their part, say they are willing to spend up to 20% more on goods and services made in their country.

Creative business strategies

In a world where 47% of clothes, shoes, bags and other household items are bought on sale or on promotion, not adhering to Black Friday is a serious business choice. The choice is most often part of the DNA of dissenting brands that play the transparency card and avow to charge a fair price all year round. This promise of stable prices doesn't exclude creating an attractive commercial strategy. It simply requires being more creative and attentive to customers. Le Pantalon, created in 2014, is fully in line with this movement.

Le Pantalon aims to be eco-friendly and committed to sustainable fashion. We offer durable pants at a reasonable price, which explains why we don't have sales or participate in Black Friday. Birthdays are the only time we offer a promotional discount of 10%. Manon Hug, Head of eCommerce and Marketing at Le Pantalon.

The brand drives its customer acquisition and loyalty program through marketing automation developed with Klaviyo in 2021. Implementing this tool provided better knowledge about customers and a more detailed understanding of their interactions with the brand, which enabled the company to deploy more relevant campaigns, far from promotional norms.

We noticed that during major promotional campaigns, consumers are in buying mode anyway. Even without promotions, the number of sales increases. To reward our customers, we opted for collaboration with other brands or organizations. Manon Hug, Head of eCommerce and Marketing at Le Pantalon.

Le Pantalon regularly contributes to social and environmental causes, donating 10% of its sales to Planète Mer or Gustave Roussy for Pink October. During sale periods, the company carries out joint campaigns with partner brands that share their values, such as Soi Paris. The brand offers a variety of games with attractive gifts and special promotions (free delivery or a free pair of socks) at different times throughout the year.

For Black Friday, Le Pantalon joins the Make Friday Green Again movement alongside Faguo, La Camif, Naturalia, Nature et Découvertes, Maisons du Monde, Bonne Gueule, as well as Make my Lemonade, etc.

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