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Black Friday: How to make the campaign day a success for online retailers

Black Friday has become one of the most important sales events in online retail in recent years. Most large e-commerce providers take part with particularly attractive discounts. For many smaller online retailers, however, the question often arises: to take part or not? One thing is clear: for the event to be a success, it needs to be well prepared. We shed light on the most important factors.

posted by Nicola Theuerkauf

Black Friday

Where does Black Friday actually come from?

Originally from the USA, Black Friday always takes place after Thanksgiving Day, which in turn is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday in November. Since the 1980s, Black Friday has also developed into one of the most important and highest-turnover shopping days in retail and online retail in Germany. So it’s no wonder that the promotional day is now extended by entire Black Friday weeks or a Black Friday weekend, which in turn is followed by Cyber Monday with further bargains. The highlight product ranges are usually household appliances and consumer electronics. Black Friday also traditionally kicks off the annual Christmas shopping season. This year, it will take place on November 24, 2023.

Define your own goals and expectations

Before a retailer decides to take part in Black Friday, they should first define their goals and expectations. These can be:

  • Image and awareness enhancement
  • Greater reach and generation of new customers
  • Increase in sales
  • Additional profits

If the focus is primarily on goals such as greater reach, awareness and gaining new customers, it can sometimes even be worthwhile to lose profits, especially for smaller, less well-known stores. This is because many shoppers who store on Black Friday often order product bargains from online stores where they do not normally shop.

Black Friday discounts should not be half-hearted, but honest and attractive. Consumers usually compare price trends over a longer period of time and therefore quickly realize whether a discount is a real bargain or not. It is always advisable for retailers to keep an eye on costs. Substantial discounts usually lead to a significant increase in sales, but this can quickly turn into a loss-making business as hardly any profits are made.

Preparation is important: that’s what counts!

Once the goals have been defined, it’s time to prepare. There are a few important points that can help with the planning:

Capacities and control
The webshop should basically fulfill the requirements for such a campaign. This means that quick and easy category creation, item allocation and price reduction are possible. Additional personnel resources will probably also be required for conception, planning and implementation.

Advertising measures
Ideally, advertising measures should be planned around four to five weeks before Black Friday. It is advisable to draw up a concept of measures including budget planning. Corresponding advertising measures can then be booked on channels relevant to the target group. It is then necessary to check which additional bookings and measures make sense – for example SEO, SEA or newsletters.

Price reductions/discounts
The products and their discounts must be attractive; they must not be sham discounts. You should also avoid offering so-called “slow sellers”.

Technical protection
The website must be able to withstand increased traffic. If necessary, the server capacity must be checked in advance with the hosting partner or the website agency in charge and increased if necessary.

Availability and logistics
Ensure the availability of the discounted products. Inform all logistics partners about the promotion in advance. If shipping is carried out without a logistics partner, personnel resources must be available. Optimal conditions are met if the entire fulfillment process is automated and scalable at all times.

Carry out a detailed evaluation at the end of the campaign. This allows you to compare the results with the previously defined goals and derive possible learnings for follow-up campaigns. In order to retain new customers gained from the campaign, you should now focus on continuous customer retention measures.

Black Friday offers opportunities for online retailers and can lead to success if clear goals are defined in advance and the campaign is well planned on this basis. Black Friday is only a success factor if expectations are clear and all the necessary requirements are met. You should not miss this opportunity!

An attractive opportunity – Black Friday at

  • Promotion period: November 14-27, 2023
  • OTTO Market partners are eligible to participate
  • Products are displayed in a separate Black Friday store
  • Additional booking of advertising solutions and analysis tools is possible
  • Conditions of participation and further information on Black Friday on can be found in OTTO Partner Connect

And for all those who would like to become an OTTO-Market-Partner, you can register here.

About the author Nicola Theuerkauf

Nicola Theuerkauf joined the Corporate Communication department in March 2022. As a Communications Consultant, she initially worked on various projects in the B2B sector. In June 2023, she moved within the team and took on a new role as Editor & Research Specialist. She joined OTTO back in 2007 as Online Marketing Manager. She later gained experience in service communication, sales and B2B marketing. Nicola lives with her family in the west of Hamburg. She loves the Bay of Lübeck and spends as much time as she can with her SUP board on the Baltic Sea waves. Translated with (free version)

Nicola Theuerkauf
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