Gymshark Blackout Week

Gymshark black friday

Black. Friday. Is. In. Town.

Yes, the second most wonderful time of the year is approaching once again on the last Friday of November or the day after American Thanksgiving. This is an American tradition as sacred as Superbowl Sunday and 4th July fireworks, but how has it spread over the ocean to take over the world? The answer is simple: no one can resist a sale.

Let’s see how one of the quickest rising UK retailers is coping with the madness that is Black Friday week…

Gymshark is a sportswear brand born in Birmingham that has now become a global phenomenon thanks to the determination, business sense and innovative marketing mind of then 19-year-old Ben Francis. The success of Gymshark, in fact, vastly depended on influencer marketing, as they owe some of their popularity to sending freebies to various fitness models and bodybuilders with a significant online presence.

Why is influencer marketing so successful, you might ask?

Well, its success relies a lot on our natural insecurities and habit of comparing ourselves against that super polished, athletic and attractive person with 100k followers we worship on the latest social media platform. Seeing someone you admire, in some way or another, wearing, using or endorsing a product makes us more likely to buy it. Ben Francis has definitely taken advantage of that for the success of the business but what is he doing to ensure the success of Black Friday?

Why have one, when you can have seven?

First of all, he decided to not limit himself to a day of sales and has extended it to a week, starting it from the Monday, calling the week-long sale ‘Blackout’. This is a great move for two reasons; firstly, your potential customers haven’t spent their hard earned cash on a different sale, meaning they can spend more at yours. Secondly, a week-long sale means more customers. This practice is vastly utilised by many retailers, so what made Gymshark’s success that little bit different?

All about that FOMO

Fear of missing out is a feeling that, when taken advantage of properly, can ensure massive success for a business. Gymshark did it properly by setting the start of the sale on Monday at 3 pm and shutting down the site by only showing this timer:

gymshark saleThe timer and the blackout deals were also hyped on various Influencers’ social media platform, making it the perfect storm. As soon as the timer stroke the last second, the blackout site appeared, showing the offers, then, it was all up for grabs.

The checkout line

Two minutes into the sale we proceeded to checkout, and we were stuck in a line:

gymshark sale

Approximately 10 minutes later we finally managed to get to the last page, however, by the time we got to this point of the process the item we wanted was sold out!


gymshark sale

The items in the cart were not held, meaning that someone in the line before us had the item in their cart too and the first one to get to the last page managed to get it.

The unexpected influx of people caused many items to result as ‘sold out’ and for the website to crash almost straight away, causing many to take to Twitter to express their frustration.

Gymshark did not cope as well as they could have with the madness that surrounded the Gymshark blackout sale and the company, as well as Ben Francis himself, proceeded to issue the following apology on their various social platforms:

gymshark sale

And this:

Gymshark Blackout Week 1

The stock and website issues, in a way, increased the aura of exclusivity that surrounds the Gymshark brand and is no doubt a show of the incredible success that was, despite the difficulties encountered.

Three days into the sale, most items and sizes show as sold out despite their attempt to shuffle stock from various locations to redirect where needed. The Gymshark blackout was indeed a success for the business and the lucky few that got to get their hands on some of their fashionable outfits.

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Gymshark Blackout Week 2
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