How we beat Black Friday with a sale in the middle of May

How we beat Black Friday with a sale in May

We started working with Lucy at the beginning of the pandemic, when things were difficult for them – all of their physical stores were shut with barely any notice. A couple of weeks later, we launched Lucy’s online store and, together with the Lucy team, we’ve been taking it from one strength to the next ever since.

Fast-forward to today. 

We just wrapped up our most-successful pop-up sale to date. It even surpassed all three Black Friday sales we’ve held so far. 

Here’s how this worked out. 

The expected is good

We’re all aware of the most anticipated sale period of the year: the notorious Black Friday. We all know it’s coming. We ‘window-shop’ in advance. We make lists. And we rush to buy, buy, buy as soon as the offers drop. 

To make it even more intense, in recent years, retailers have gone past the long weekend of Black Friday and run full-on Black Months.

While the Black Friday model seems like a win-win scenario for retailers and shoppers, the rehearsed aspect of it being a global shopping event can be its main downfall, especially for smaller retailers who can’t even dream of competing with the Amazons of the world. 

Every business that sells something or another is advertising before and during Black Friday. Capturing the attention of your audience during this period can get very pricey, and even more expensive to keep the momentum going for multiple weeks. 

But if everyone does it, it must be worth it, right?


And perhaps there’s another way to run a limited-time promotion and meet – or even surpass – your Black Friday numbers. 

The unexpected is better

This is exactly what happened with the most recent Lucy sale. 

The special offer ran for four days in mid-May. It was just a random Sunday to Wednesday: no special occasion like Christmas or Mother’s Day attached to capitalise on. But the offer was really good – 25% off (almost) everything. 

Interestingly, this is the same offer Lucy had during their past Black Friday sales.

Four days later, we were looking at a 50% increase in orders, and a 34% increase in overall sales when compared to our most successful Black Friday sale to date – and all of that with only an eighth of the spend we had on the same Black Friday.

Sales and spending comparison between the last three Black Friday sales and the pop-up sale in May 2023.

So what’s so different about this sale event that made it such a huge success?

For one, other than a few hints on Lucy’s social channels in the days leading up to the event, people didn’t really know what to expect. We got their attention by making them curious.

Secondly, we did not have to directly compete for attention with every other business in the world. 

And finally, even if the Lucy audience wasn’t really planning a shopping spree on a random Sunday in May, when the offer dropped, they were there to make the most of it.

But all of this did not happen by chance. 

Consistency and collaboration are key

When we say “the audience was there to make the most of the offer” we don’t mean “they just magically appeared in the right place at the right time.” 

Since the day Lucy opened its first retail store, the client has led a strong social media strategy. Through a consistent brand presence and communications via Lucy’s Facebook, Instagram and TikTok channels, Lucy built a loyal community of makeup and beauty lovers around the Lucy brand – so when we stepped in to assist with the launch of the new website and digital advertising strategy, we had solid foundations to continue building the Lucy brand on. 

In collaboration with the client, we developed a strong digital strategy to complement the existing social media presence. Keeping a consistent stream of brand and tactical communications throughout the year allows Lucy to always stay top-of-mind.

So if, and when, a really good offer comes up, our audience is primed and ready to shop with a moment’s notice, which allows Lucy to have successful sales outside of the globally-prescribed sales event calendar. 

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