In Canada, Black Friday isn’t just for Bricks-and-Mortar

November 21, 2013 Jonathan Paul


Forget Cyber Monday. Black Friday has been making serious inroads into Canada for years and Canadian e-commerce is doing its part to make sure that the yearly November buying bonanza has a robust life north of the border.

Canadian e-tailers are certainly a driving force behind Black Friday in Canada, ensuring that deal-hungry Canadians, eager to buy under the Black Friday banner, have easy access to bargains. Without Canadians having the luxury of days off, a lot of Canadian e-tailers aren’t necessarily making the distinction between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, meaning that it’s easy to find Canadian Black Friday deals available online.

“I know, historically, that Black Friday has been more of a bricks-and-mortar event and Cyber Monday’s been more of an online event, but we don’t see that,” says Ben Burmaster, President & Founder, Snuggle Bugz. “I know that ecommerce in general in Canada definitely sees that, but we put as big a push now on Black Friday as we do on Cyber Monday. There’s still not as much happening at bricks-and-mortar in Canada. I think ecommerce has adopted it a lot more than bricks-and-mortar has. I think it’s easier to be ‘first-to’ online versus ‘first-to’ in a store.”

Indeed, Canadian e-tailers are doing their part to ensure their e-commerce portals are adequately prepared to accommodate traffic on the Friday.

“We’ve moved servers in order to increase our capacity and the number of concurrent users we’ll be able to handle, and we’ve done quite a few site enhancements to improve site performance,” says Burmaster. “All of our emails for Black Friday are fully responsive emails. That’s a new transition for us and it’s something we had to have in place for Black Friday.”


“Consumers now look at products online but want to purchase in-store or vice versa.”

There’s also, when looking at the role of e-commerce in bolstering Black Friday here in Canada, the importance, and growing relevance, of the omnichannel experience to consider. Shoppers don’t window shop like they used to. Instead, they e-browse on tablets and computers before finally reaching for the item on the shelf. Online intelligence gathering has become a crucial part of the buyer’s journey these days (see Google’s ZMOT) and will likely play a more significant role around Black Friday going forward as Canadian consumers try to take fuller advantage of the deals by making more informed decisions.

“The lines between offline and online have blurred,” says Harley Finkelstein, Chief Platform Officer, Shopify. “Consumers now look at products online but want to purchase in-store or vice versa –  go into a retail location to look at the product then purchase online. Retailers need to quickly adapt to this omnichannel experience and engage with customers every step of the way. For the first time ever, consumers are dictating how retail needs to be working and merchants need to understand how to properly engage with them.”

Shop-from-home Black Friday tips

As Canadian Black Friday foot traffic continues to increase, it’s a hard argument to forgo the comfort and privacy of one’s own home for the bedlam of mall shopping, especially considering the number of Black Friday deals to be had online. If you’re among the group that prefers to shop from home on Black Friday, consider these tips for a more relaxing a money-saving holiday shopping experience:

  • Pre-shop. Browse several sites in advance and checkout what you might like to buy, then check back on Black Friday or Cyber Monday as the price may have dropped. Even save the direct links if you can.
  • Don’t come to the game late. If you try to buy after work on Friday night, there’s a chance that the most discounted items could be sold-out.
  • Check the gift guides on your favourite retail sites, or even go on Pinterest and Instagram to get some ideas that you may not have thought of on your own.
  • Shop around and compare prices online. During the holiday season, many retailers offer discounts and even free shipping to get a leg up on competition. You can save yourself some money and the package may even come express. Comparison shopping engines like Shopbot can help you compare several stores’ prices in one place.
  • Check daily deals. You know those daily emails you signed up for months ago and usually lands in your spam folder? Now is the time to pay attention to them as almost every ecommerce site will be offering deals during this time.
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