7min read

3 Alternatives to Black Friday Promotions [+ Ethical Examples]

Black Friday – the time for sales and doorbusters and discounts – but what about the companies that are choosing not to participate this year? Rather than letting your site stay stagnant, you can still use this time to capitalize on the holiday traffic by testing new ideas for your site and gaining customer feedback in real-time.

There are many reasons why a company might opt to sit out of Black Friday sales. We’ve determined that most alternative Black Friday messaging falls into one of three major themes. These themes are:

  1. Fair Friday/Do Good Friday: Brands take the time during the busy shopping season to instead promote donations or partner charities to help drive awareness of issues while building brand trust and developing corporate social responsibility.
  2. Anti-Black Friday: Some brands choose to take not participating in Black Friday a step further by sharing messaging that challenges hyperconsumerism, promotes ethical consumption, or encourages a boycott of Black Friday. This might also take the form of a brand shutting down their e-commerce sales over the weekend in protest.
  3. Normal Friday: Certain brands, including many luxury retailers, have not historically offered sales and discounts during Black Friday. In lieu of promoting active sales, these brands might instead drive traffic to new collections and releases for the season. This can also be an extension of Black Friday protests by choosing to conduct business as usual over the fanfare of the shopping season. 


If you are considering an alternative Black Friday campaign this year, it is crucial to provide your visitors with clear communication about your campaign just like any other brand would do for their own sales and promotions. 

Experimenting with easy-to-understand messaging, banners spread throughout the customer journey, and pop-ins reminding visitors of your initiative can help reduce confusion and provide a consistent experience for your customers. 

Below, we have collected real-world examples of alternative Black Friday campaigns from AB Tasty clients and other brands who wanted to make the most out of the holiday traffic and gather important customer insights without compromising on their brand values.

Fair Friday / Do Good Friday Campaigns


In addition to their Black Friday offers, the team at L’Occitane ran a “Give Back Friday” campaign in support of The Fred Hollows Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on treating and preventing blindness and other vision problems. During the promotion period, $1 from every hand cream sold would be donated to the foundation.

Working within AB Tasty’s experimentation and personalization platform, custom code was created to support the campaign. The L’Occitane home page featured a large hero image along with a block of copy explaining the details of the promotion for customers. 

Transparency in both the foundation that would receive the funds and for how the funds would be used to benefit others helped boost engagement and buy-in.

B&B Hotels

The team at B&B Hotels: Spain & Portugal set up a campaign on Black Friday called “Green Friday” where 5% of bookings made on that day would go to support the reconstruction of La Palma Island after intense fires. 

They considered their users’ paths throughout the website when setting up their campaign. Clear messaging about the initiative was shared on the landing page and a reminder was displayed again at the booking stage to help push conversions. To reduce cart abandonment, an exit pop-in encouraged visitors to complete their booking before leaving the page.


Nature & Découvertes

As a part of their annual Fair Friday initiative, retailer Nature & Découvertes swapped out their standard hero image for one that highlighted their 2021 campaign for rewilding endangered habitats. 

Throughout the last week of November, Nature & Découvertes encouraged both online and in-person customers to donate to the initiative by rounding up their purchase amounts to the next dollar. The brand then matched the total amount of donations.

Beyond the hero image swap on their homepage, Nature & Découvertes also drove traffic to a landing page explaining the initiative in greater detail. This helped customers have confidence that the initiative was genuine and offered the brand an opportunity to be transparent about the impact donations would have on wildlife and conservation efforts.

Anti-Black Friday Campaigns

REI Co-op

Outdoor recreation retailer REI Co-op’s #OptOutside initiative is a great example of brands taking a stance against Black Friday that also aligns with their brand values. 

Instead of promoting a special sale or discount on Black Friday, REI Co-op chose to close their operations for their online store and drive visitors to learn more about the REI Cooperative Action Fund which works to make the outdoors more accessible for all communities. 

With operations paused for the day, REI Co-op made sure to communicate clearly that no orders would ship out on that day by displaying a banner at the top of their pages. The simple banner helped reduce confusion for visitors and helped build positive attention for the brand by educating visitors about the #OptOutside mission.


Normal Friday Campaigns


BackMarket, the renewed devices retailer, does not offer additional sales or discounts on their products. In order to still capture attention from Black Friday visitors, they created a campaign dubbed “Any Old Friday”. 

Taking inspiration from Black Friday doorbuster commercials, their landing page showed a new carousel image with copy that read “For an unlimited time only!”. 

This cheeky take on the usual sales quips was a great opportunity for BackMarket to have a fun and engaging holiday season campaign without the need for offering discounts or sales. 



Whether your brand wants to support an important cause or give visitors a break from Black Friday promotions, take advantage of increased traffic and drive engagement during the holiday shopping season with these creative alternatives to Black Friday.

On the fence about your Black Friday strategy? Get inspired by our e-book “How to Win Big During the E-Commerce Holiday Season”, featuring 30 experimentation and personalization ideas for Black Friday from AB Tasty clients around the world.

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