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Sunday Email: Some Thoughts on Black Friday

This email was sent out to my email list on November 01, 2020.

Sunday EmailsNik Sharma

Hey there!

I know I promised this email a couple of weeks ago, but there has been a lot going on... both in the world, but also with work. I'm helping Cadence raise a seed round (check it out here), we just launched a JUDY for your Booty kit with Poo~Pourri (SHARMAVIP gets you free shipping), my new portfolio company Snif just launched, and I shared some thoughts on referral marketing with Retail Brew.

In today's email, I wanted to talk through what we're doing at Sharma Brands for our clients when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year.

With this year being one that has changed dramatically due to the pandemic, from what I've gathered, consumers are looking for deals on what they would've otherwise bought themselves earlier this year OR they're looking for extra spicy deals that get them across the finish line for gifting during the holidays. But, rather than spitting theory/ideas at you, let's just get into exactly what we're doing... (I don't believe in hiding my "secret sauce").​

With most of our brands, we're using the holidays to do the following:

Black Friday — focus on a bundle (high AOV, high discount) that encompasses products that people already love, so they want to buy it, but because they're buying into a bundle, feel free to add something you'd like to sample more. This works really well if you're a consumable brand (food, bev, cosmetics, creams, etc). That being said, even if you're not, there are ways to make it work in your favor. Take JUDY for example: We're going to be focused on sampling in our smaller kits while the two main flagship kits sell on their own.

Saturday & Sunday — do NOT just continue your Black Friday sale through the weekend. Such an amateur move. Why? People will remember next year that you're the brand that carries their Black Friday sale extra long. If they missed it, cool. If they really wanted it, let your CX team take the ticket and get them the offer. Play the long game, and focus on building the long-term value of your audience.

Use Saturday and Sunday to promote something else. If you're Glossier, maybe focus on selling GlossiWEAR (merch). If you're Hint, focus on the sunscreen over the weekend. People are still looking for deals, but introduce your lesser popular items. If you're an early stage company, these create great stories when talking to investors as well.

Cyber Monday – Now this one lasts a whole week, so make it something incentivizing. What we're doing here are tiered promo sales. Spend $0-100, save 10%, spend $101-200, save 20%, etc. BUT, there's a fun trick to make this more spicy:

Some brands just don't want to over-discount, and that's ok. Here's what we came up with for a sauce & a cookware brand, which I'll be sure to highlight once it's live.

For the sauce, $0-100 in spend = free shipping; $101-$200 = free shipping + $25 gift card to cookware brand; $201+ = free shipping + $50 gift card to cookware brand.

You might be wondering why the F this makes any sense... it's actually a triple win. The sauce company doesn't have to worry about discounting their product, just free shipping. The cookware brand now has a $25 or $50 gift card in exchange for a purchase, same as saying a $25 or $50 acquisition cost BUT, remember that's $25/$50 of retail value, so the COGS on that are the real CAC. Make sense? And for the consumer, that's a win-win!

My favorite brand of the week

Snif – a new take on fragrance.

Snif is co-founded by Phil Riportella and Bryan Edwards. Both came from a finance/investing background, and Phil is obsessed with smells/fragrances. They have taken a new approach to selling fragrances, which is try-before-you-buy.

Similar to Stitch Fix, with Snif you get a mini care package with the scents, and if you like what you get, you keep it, otherwise you send it back for free, and you only pay for what you keep. If you remember the Buffy comforter, this was one thing they did really well.

I worked on launching Cher’s fragrance earlier this year, and the biggest lesson we learned was the try-before-you-buy model is what people want when it comes to fragrance. The model we created there was also unique, and inspired from when Square started selling readers in the Apple Store — pay $5 for the sample, if you want the full size, your $5 goes toward the full size purchase. It worked extremely well, and because of that, I’m stoked for Snif.

Try it, it’s free!

My favorite app/software of the week

Co-Op Commerce!

We have now gotten more than 10 brands from my portfolio onto Co-Op Commerce. I’m a big fan of brands partnering up (as shown in the Cyber Monday example above), but if you want to make it even easier, Co-Op Commerce shows up post-checkout (so it doesn’t affect conversion rate), and tells your customers exactly what brands/products they might want next. The click-through rates + conversion rates are insanely high, and I’m excited to see some of my brands like Twice, Brightland, Haus, Black Wolf Nation, PYM, and others on it.

You can sign up to try it out by clicking here, or check out a PDF of how we use Co-Op Commerce with Sharma Brands by clicking here.​

Some resources I was mentioned in this past week:

Privy -

Unbounce -

Retail Brew -

Gen Z VC’s Weigh in on Trends:

Resilient Retail (Shopify) -

Resources from my friends:

A Technical Guide to Facebook Creative by my friend Garrison Yang, who’s also a rep to FB Disruptor clients (hyper-growth brands):

Hope you have an incredible week. Thank you again so much for subscribing to this newsletter ❤️ Feel free to reply with any questions 😊


Nik Sharma

CEO, Sharma Brands