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The Intuitive Customer - Improve Your Customer Experience To Gain Growth

Nov 23, 2019

What is Really Happening on Black Friday?

It’s that time of year again: Black Friday sales are next week. A US tradition, Black Friday was named for the idea that it is the day retailers finally move out of the red for the year and into the black of profits. It is also the official kickoff of the holiday shopping season.

However, what is really going on here? Why do people trample through the doors of a retailer they likely frequent three times a week most months mere hours after polishing off far too much food than is healthy for them? How to marketers compel people to stand in the dark and cold for hours to shop in their stores?

Black Friday is the way it is because of the psychological concept called Scarcity. Scarcity is a motivator like none other for customer behavior—specifically their buying behavior.

Scarcity stems from the idea that resources we think are harder to come by are more valuable. In the distant past, our ancestors did not have access to the jumbo pack of Cheetos at their friendly big-box retailer. Instead, they had to compete for food, water, and shelter with other humans. For them, overcoming Scarcity was a matter of survival.

No one could argue that buying a discounted giant flat-screen TV for pennies on the dollar one Friday morning in November is a survival instinct. However, the motivations behind our behavior have the same origins. We try harder when something is hard to get. What’s an elbow in the face of your fellow shopper when you are talking about 4k Ultra HD

Now, Black Friday is next week in the US, but it is not the only time we see this behavior or even the only country where it happens. The idea of a day of big sales that bring out the animal in us is global. Similar events occur in the UK (the January Sales), and China (Single’s Day). Even other sales in the US can create a frenzy, like Presidents’ Day sales or Labor Day “Events.”

In this episode of The Intuitive Customer, we explore the concept of Scarcity and how it affects customer behavior, both good and bad. We also talk about how marketers create the idea of scarcity in the minds of consumers, and the effect it can have on Customer Experience and their bottom line.


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