Alternative Black Friday 2019: Ideas for a new approach

The Alternative Black Friday approach takes retailers out of a discount spiral and utilises the increased consumer interest to promote purpose-led initiatives. We summarise the key strategies being utilised by eCommerce retailers taking a step back for Anti-Black Friday 2019.

The alternative Black Friday movement is continuing to grow. This year we are seeing wide-ranging strategies for purpose-led businesses taking a completely different approach to Black Friday 2019.

While many eCommerce businesses will be battling to sell more than last year, alternative Black Friday retailers are taking a step back. The pressure to ‘comp’ 2018 numbers will mean eCom businesses will discount deeper, for longer, and with increased marketing spends.

The anti-Black Friday approach takes retailers out of this discount spiral and utilises the increased consumer interest to promote purpose-led initiatives.

Taking this step is a considerable challenge. There are many different strategies with varying approaches to an alternative Black Friday. Below is a summary of some of the best we have seen, to hopefully inspire some divergent thinking for Black Friday 2020.

Please let us know of any other alternative Black Friday 2019 approaches. We will look to update this article regularly to highlight further strategies.

Raeburn- Repair instead of buy


RÆBURN, led by British designer is Christoper Raeburn, is a collaborative, creative fashion brand and studio, focusing on innovative and responsible design.

For Black Friday 2019, Raeburn launches their ‘buy nothing, repair something’ campaign, as part of the RÆMADE, RÆDUCED, RÆCYCLED initiative. Closing all stores for the day, instead of buying new, Raeburn is inviting customers to bring in a used piece of clothing to be repaired or altered.

The item of clothing can be from any brand, with Raeburn providing the tools and expertise to turn an old piece of clothing into something new.

More info.

REI- Go outside instead #optoutside

Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) believe strongly that life outdoors is a life well-lived. Founded in 1938, REI has been a leader in putting purpose before profits.

Since 2015, REI has been closing doors on Black Friday as a stand against our culture of overconsumption, encouraging people to spend the day outside instead.

For Black Friday 2019, they continue with their #optoutside campaign, however, this year taking things one step further by encouraging people to join cleanups organised across the US.

More info.

Deciem- Slow discounts for an Alternative Black Friday


One of the most significant criticisms of Black Friday is the encouragement of overconsumption. The frenzied nature of time-sensitive discounts are designed to encourage people to buy, often items they don’t need.

DECIEM have taken a new, slower approach by offering a 23% sitewide discount for the whole of November, and then closing all stores and website on Black Friday itself. The idea is this gives people time to make a considered purchase decision, while still being rewarded with a discount.

DECIEM no longer feels comfortable being involved in a single day so heavily focussed around hyper-consumerism.

“Black Friday is not an earth or consumer-friendly event as it encourages excessive purchasing of items, that consumers might not necessarily purchase if items weren’t discounted”


More info.

Citizen Wolf- Fashion Upcycling with ‘Black Fridye’

Citizen Wolf Black Fridye Clothes

Australian clothing brand Citizen Wolf is built on a simple idea – the clothes you wear every day can and should be custom made just for you.

Citizen Wolf research showed that 1 in 5 people got rid of black clothes simply because they’ve faded. In response to this, they have created ‘Black Fridye’ where they are providing dyeing services to upcycle old garments rather than selling you anything new.

WRAP UK estimates that we can reduce the carbon, water and waste footprint of our clothes by up to 30% for every nine additional months we keep wearing them. Citizen Wolf are looking to maximise this impact on Black Friday.

More info.

Everlane- Alternative Black Friday Fund

Everlane Black Friday 2019 Banner

Everlane has made clear commitments to transparency with a view of creating a new normal in the fashion industry.

Everlane is putting the increased Black Friday sales to good use by donating $10 from every order to Oceana. The charity aims to put the money towards removing plastic waste from the world’s oceans.

Taking a hit on margin to do good is an inspirational way to utilise the increased consumer interest at this time of year.

More info.

Patagonia- Earth Tax Gift Cards


Patagonia has always given one percent of sales as an ‘Earth Tax’, funding grassroots groups through the Patagonia Action Works scheme. Working to protect and conserve the environment, this currently sits at over USD $100 million.

Starting with an alternative Black Friday focus, but lasting for the whole month of December, Patagonia will dollar match every donation given through their Action Works portal. This will also be available in the form of gift cards, allowing friends and family to donate to a local cause.

No purchase of Patagonia products is required.

“Black Friday is often a day when we go out and buy things we don’t really need and give them to people who don’t really want them. This year, consider giving to our home planet in the name of someone you love”

Rose Marcario, CEO, Patagonia

More info.

Nimble- i=Change Partnership


Australian activewear brand Nimble launches ‘Green Friday’, committing to donate AUD $2 to fund projects dedicated to protecting Australian reefs and restoring our lands.

What is potentially interesting to other retailers is the partnership with i=Change to power the initiative. i=Change gives brands, and their customers, the ability to give back with every sale.

Such external tools like i=Change allow retailers to incorporate purpose-led campaigns into their business with limited investment, and without the need to disrupt regular trade.

More info.

Further Reading: Anti-Black Friday 2018. Read More.