We all love a deal, and who can blame us? The retail landscape has used sales, scarcity and urgency to fuel sales and it is a really effective way to get rid of excess and unwanted stock.
Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year, while I worked in tech I would work with my retailers to prepare for Black Friday in July...we would have the extra resource, extra infrastructure and marketing campaigns to drive the biggest shopping day(s) we could. As the years went by suddenly Black Friday started on the Monday before and Cyber Monday (the following Monday) was just as big. My retail clients (especially in fashion) would sell at least double the amount on Black Friday than on any other day in the year. So look, I was part of the problem too.
in 2021, 88 million consumers shopped online and in 2020 sales hit a record high of over £7.5 billion. We've all read the headlines of website crashes and physical fights as people rush to get the best deal. It is a frenzy.
However, as we all become much more aware of the problems with: over consumption, fair pay for workers and the responsibility of retailers on their levels of production and integrity, the feelings towards Black Friday are shifting.
I personally don't put the blame on consumers, we have been tuned to behave and consume this way. However, I do think we need to take some responsibility and just take a second to review:
1. Do we need this item, would we buy it anyway?
Take a pause, is this something you have consistently wanted over at least the past few months? Because otherwise, no matter what the discount is, we are spending money unnecessarily and we are consuming goods that may not be used (and probably end up in landfill).
2. Is this actually a deal?
If we have wanted and/or need this time for a significant time period, is this genuinely cheaper today? I'll go through the stats later as to why it most probably isn't...
3. How do we feel about this brand we have a relationship with?
I ask this because, if they are able to offer you 70% off an item, they were overcharging you in the first place. Sales come from brands producing too much stock and this is their own mistake, you shouldn't be punished by being overcharged for the rest of the year. They should be consistently offering you a fair price which represents their quality and pays their suppliers fairly too.
Here are the real facts
Which have found only 1 in 7 (14%) Black Friday deals offer a genuine discount. They found that the vast majority of promotions are cheaper or the same price in the six months before the sales extravaganza.
They found of all the deals they looked at 86% were actually cheaper or the same as their Black Friday price in the six months before the sales event and 98% were cheaper or the same price at other times in the year. None were cheaper on Black Friday alone...
The Canadian author MacKinnon has stated that consumption of fast fashion, flights and Black Friday has become the primary driver of the ecological crisis. We are devouring the planet's resources at a rate 1.7 times faster than it can regenerate. The US population, for example, is 60% larger than it was in 1970, but consumer spending is up 400% - and other rich nations, like the UK, aren't much better.
Black Friday fuels over consumption, it works because of over consumption.
1. This years Black Friday shopping will generate 429,000 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from product deliveries alone.
That is 0.12% of our greenhouse gas output for a complete year...
2. 80% of Black Friday purchases are simply thrown away
after just one or zero uses.
3. 80% of Black Friday purchases will end up in landfill sites
are incinerated or are recycled incorrectly.
3. Black Friday sales increase waste by 25%
in the period between Black Friday & New Year.
All from wastemanaged.co.uk
Doesn’t Black Friday reduce the amount of stock sent to landfill?
Some people argue that Black Friday helps companies sell old stock that isn’t selling, so it doesn't ultimately end up in landfill.
However, what would be better for the environment would be that retailers don't produce more stock than they can sell at their fair, full price. Overproducing, with the knowledge they can sell it at a knock-off price if it isn't popular, not only is unfair to consumers and most probably their suppliers but also is hugely damaging to the environment.
I am not saying this is easy, especially for small independent brands who are competing in a tough market. Small runs also come at a higher price, so it is extremely hard for retailers, especially small ones who don't have the historic data, to get the balance right. However, bigger brands who do have the data, shouldn't use the backup of knockoff prices as standard and drive over consumption.
So what does Lullaloop Do?
1. We have no sales.
2. We have a £10 offer off the first month, available to everyone.
We also offer just 5 free trials a month which are available on a first-come basis.
That is it. It is consistent all year.
3. We run small runs of each style.
If the feedback on these products isn't good then we won't make more of it. As a circular business, it is also in our interest, financially and environmentally, to produce popular products that are high quality so they last and can be reused as many times as possible. All products go into our Pre-Styled wardrobes, so we can control which stock is used while the customers also have a great experience.
This is why retailers who offer buy-back schemes or offer a rental purchase model are incentivised to make high-quality, popular items.
4. Not running sales, means we can always offer the best price we can.
A price which is fair to our customers and suppliers, in the quality they receive and also allows us to (one day) make a fair profit (at the moment we make nothing).
5. We always give 10-15% of a new customer sale to our charity partner.
Malaria Consortium. So that we can give back to children who are in greater need than our own.
I will finish this with we are not perfect, none of us are. We will make mistakes, we are not as environmentally and ethically friendly as we could be and we will continue to learn, as will I in my personal journey too, in trying to be more conscious with my consumption and life. However, we can all try to make a positive difference, in whichever way we can and choose to.