All signs are pointing to a Black Friday bonanza for retailers. Last year, 174 million people shopped Black Friday weekend, a 13 percent increase over 2016.1 And with eMarketer predicting a first-ever $1 trillion holiday shopping season2, retailers have every reason to believe that Black Friday will create strong foot traffic in-store – and so should auto retailers. Our own on-the-lot data shows that Black Friday weekend is a popular time for shoppers to visit dealerships, with visits surging in the double digits compared to previous weekends.3 So how should dealerships prepare? Here are five tips:

  1. Get Your Content and Data Ready
    By the time you read this post, all your content and data need to be ready to lure Black Friday shoppers – everywhere shoppers live in the digital world, ranging from social media to your website. For example, post “Countdown to Thanksgiving” content on your Facebook and Google My Business pages as the big day arrives, calling out any special deals you are running and expressing your gratitude to your customers in the spirit of the season. Make note of any special hours you are keeping for Black Friday weekend. And, it’s always a good idea to double check your basic address and contact information (especially on Google) to ensure that you are easily findable.
  2. Advertise Wisely
    Major advertising platforms such as Facebook and Google continue to update their advertising products to help retailers attract shoppers. For example, in 2018, Facebook rolled out a product to make it possible for dealerships to advertise on Marketplace, an increasingly popular destination for automotive shoppers. And Google’s recently launched Responsive Ads help advertisers to create search ads with multiple headlines (up to 15) and descriptions (up to four) – and then Google uses machine learning to automatically test different combinations and learn which perform best. Dealerships that stay on top of flexible and targeted online ad products are in a great position to win.
  3. Empower Your People
    Your own people are brand ambassadors on the front lines. Empower them to succeed. For example, work with your salespeople to create brief personal videos encouraging customers to visit your lot and letting them know of their own availability to assist. Ask employees to mention your dealership’s Black Friday specials on their own socials. Ensure that salespersons’ profiles are up to date everywhere customers find them.
  4. Make Your Location a Destination
    Retailers are beginning to wise up to the value of making their storefronts attractive Black Friday destinations. Walmart, for one, is handing out free cookies and coffee on Black Friday. So why not make your dealership a welcome destination for holiday shoppers? Holiday-themed snacks, perhaps a visit from Santa, a toy donation box, and festive music all work well.
  5. Think Beyond Black Friday
    Although Black Friday weekend is huge, we see strong traffic on the lot most weekends during the holidays, with a spike occurring the last weekend of the year.4 Don’t let up on your holiday promotions after Black Friday weekend is over. This holiday season, shoppers are going to be especially motivated to buy new cars before the impact of newly imposed international tariffs are felt in 2019.


Act Now

Whatever you do, act now. Black Friday shoppers don’t wait for Black Friday to look for deals. They’re searching now and gearing up to spend. Happy holidays!


  1., “Black Friday by the Numbers,” November 12, 2018.
  2., “Holiday Sales to Cross $1 Trillion for the First Time,” November 4, 2018.
  3. on-the-lot data analysis, October-December 2017.
  4. on-the-lot data analysis, October-December 2017.