Black Friday occurs every year on the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, and is often regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Most retailers open extremely early and offer promotion sales to their customers.


The day’s name originated in Philadelphia, where it was originally used to describe the heavy and disruptive traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Nowadays, most people attribute the name to mean that Black Friday indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or are “in the black.”


  • Boxing Day, celebrated in Great Britain, Canada and some parts of Australia, is the only other holiday dedicated wholly to the idea of shopping. Boxing Day is usually the day after Christmas (December 26).
  • The Monday after Thanksgiving is known as Cyber Monday – when online retailers mark down their merchandise and offer special promotions for holiday shopping.

Celebrating Suggestions

While American Express has helped focus attention on Small Business Saturday as the “official” big day for small businesses across the country, Black Friday shouldn’t be overlooked! It has traditionally been the biggest holiday shopping day for the the better part of 90 years, and you can and should entice your customers to come shop with you!

  • Look back at last year’s numbers (by the hour) to see what times were most successful, and why. What promotions were you running, and how did they pay off?
  • In the days leading up to Black Friday, post a countdown calendar or clock until the big sale/promotion on Black Friday! Customers are naturally drawn towards limited-time offers, scarcity and exclusivity!
  • Determine your holiday sales strategy and offer something special for your customers on Black Friday. Remember, as opposed to offering a discount – create an added value!
  • Before the holiday, send a quick email to your customers to subtly remind them that you’re a small business and that you appreciate their patronage. Highlight your personal customer experience and any special services you’ll be offering for the holiday weekend.
  • Greet your early morning customers with hot coffee and treats.
  • Consider special treats and offers throughout the day to keep the traffic steady.
  • If you run a restaurant or café, and are located near a retail area, prepare accordingly. By noon or one o’clock, some shoppers will have been up all morning and will be famished for good food and service.
  • If you’re located near a shopping area and you aren’t a retailer, think about how you can create a respite for those out shopping or the family/spouses of those out shopping. Think seated massages or something like that.
  • Often, customers don’t remember all the people they should be shopping for. Why not create a gift guide for them? List typical gift recipients (from family members, to the dog walker, to the hair dresser) and provide gift suggestions from your shop. The less thinking your customers have to do, the better!

Check out our Marketing Holiday Calendar for more dates to celebrate!