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#RealTalk. As an independent business owner Black Friday can feel, well, a bit icky. 

It’s full of shouty discounts that’d rival the graphics in a JB Hifi. Suddenly whacking a huge 70% discount on your homepage feels a bit out of touch with your brand. You feel the pinch. Your margins can’t really afford that kind of discount. That’s OK. You’re a small business owner, not Jeff Bezos. You don’t need to apologise. Because yes, we’ve actually had business owners mumble “sorry, I just can’t afford to do Black Friday discounts”. Mate, we’re on your side.

Aside from how it makes you feel. The gluttony of Black Friday and buying things we don’t really need “just because they were on sale” doesn’t really gel with the growing trend for conscious consumerism, which has been gaining momentum for some years now and was turbo-charged by COVID.

Right now, in this pseudo-post COVID world in Australia we’re more aware of how we feel about purchasing goods that we don’t really need. We’re less financially able to fritter away our cash on non-essentials and if we’ve got some cash, we’re now building up some dollars in our cheque account because heck, did we realise we really should have done that when COVID hit and a whole heap of us suddenly found our livelihoods on the line. Oops.

(Yes Dad, I know you said I should keep 3 months salary in the bank just in case, but life got in the way. Guess what, you were right.)

Research has shown that Millennials are less obsessed with accumulating ‘stuff’. Unlike our parents who have cupboards full of ‘good crockery’, we’ve spent our lives moving from rental to rental with a crappy set of IKEA pans. The property we’ve finally managed to purchase (if you’ve managed to purchase at all) is too small for all that ‘stuff’. So we’re just saying no to shopping for the sake of it and spending the spare money we have on nights out, holidays and spending time with our friends. As a generation we’re the experience generation. That’s no new revelation. Ad Land marketers have been selling the experience to us for ages now. Hello ‘pop-up-interactive-social-proofed-product-we-must-have’.

But if you thought Millennials were tricky to convert then it’s time you met our younger siblings. Gen Z have seen how millennials struggled with money. They see you’re still living in a share house with a tiny bedroom and a mouldy shower aged 32 and you know what, they don’t want that for themselves. (Can’t say I’m not surprised. Mouldy showers suck.). Gen Z are the generation that are trying to be smart with their money but they’re smart in a new way. They actually choose to spend more, on less.

Gen Z and an increasing number of consumers from other socio-economic groups are way more conscious about who they shop with. Recent research from Unilever suggests that more than a third of people would choose to spend more to shop with a brand whose values and sustainable credentials are in-line with their own.

We want less waste in the retail supply chain to try and to try to do something with our purchases to protect the planet that we know is pretty much f*cked right now. We can’t be completely OK with the gluttony and the waste that comes with buying the ‘stuff’.

So I’d completely empathise with you if you’re reading this and you’re now a little confused.

“Is she saying we shouldn’t do Black Friday?…”

In short, no. I’m not suggesting you ignore or boycott Black Friday. It’s way too much of an annual event and a sales driver to totally ignore. We’re culturally conditioned to think we need to shop right now (even if we’re trying to shop a little smarter). It’s subliminal.

But, what I do think is that Black Friday is a really freaking awesome opportunity to do something different. To be bold and be noticed for really tapping into consumer consciousness. You are a small business owner, not a faceless Globo-brand and that’s what makes you better. Think about it, if your customers aren’t really that into the waste of Black Friday and you acknowledge that, they are going to be loving you right back.

So this brings me onto Deciem.

This year Deciem have managed to flip Black Friday on its head and honestly, I love it. They’ve taken a moment to think outside the box. They’ve looked at the data. They’ve thought strategically and they’ve considered the research that shows beauty consumer trends are moving in a direction of ‘less is more’ when it comes to skincare. (Ironic when you have to buy 17 different The Ordinary serums to make up what you’d get in one product elsewhere). 

Deciem have come up with a killer campaign. This year they’re bringing us KNOWvember. A whole month of education and mindful content to encourage their customers to better care for their skin. It’s not new. It’s building on a campaign launched last year to encourage customers to shop slowly and make a considered purchase that’s right for their skin, not a panic purchase that’s going to go to waste. As a business they’ve dialled-down the pressure to impulse shop by offering a small (23%) discount on all their products month-long. And they’re turning off their website and their stores for the second year on November 27th.

So, to recap if you made it this far.

  • Black Friday doesn’t have to mean discounts and shopping for the sake of it.

  • Conscious consumerism is on the rise and it ‘aint going nowhere.

  • Take the established moment in the retail calendar. Flip it on it’s head. Make it your own. Do a Deciem.

How will you approach Black Friday and really make it work as hard as possible for your business? Let me know. Send me a DM @DearCharlieMarketing