How data is the key to a successful Black Friday

November 23, 20227 min read
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What’s the outlook for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) 2022?

Black Friday conjures up images of long queues of shoppers waiting hours to buy the hottest items in electronics, toys, clothing, etc., at huge discounts.  The reality of this image has changed over the past few years.  Online shopping had been on the increase pre-Covid, but the Pandemic saw a major shift in shoppers’ buying habits.  While there are always die-hards willing to brave Black Friday crowds for the thrill of finding a deal, more and more shoppers are inclined to make the purchase online to save the time, expense, and risk (think Covid) of shopping in person.  According to Deloitte, 69% of holiday shoppers say retailers offer comparable deals online and in-store during the BFCM week. And while Cyber Monday still plays out primarily online, price transparency has created a more channel-agnostic Black Friday. 

Despite overall inflation concerns this year, Deloitte found that consumers will spend $500 on average during the week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a 12% increase from 2021.

The BFCM week is becoming more appealing to consumers as they are looking for bargains and for their money to go further. And online shopping will continue to grow as savvy consumers are looking for more comparable deals.


What does this mean for the payments processing world?

The various components of the payment stack have traditionally handled Black Friday and Cyber Monday in a very linear fashion—Merchants advertise the bargains they are offering and make sure there is enough staffing to handle the crowds.  PSPs and gateways ensure that as many payment methods as possible are available to shoppers.  Processors make sure that their systems can handle the huge increase in transactional volume their merchants will experience.

Is there another element that is being missed? Are merchants missing out on opportunities due to a lack of card transaction and card holder data? I would argue the answer to this question is a resounding yes.  As we have discussed in previous posts, modern card processing is all about the data.  Accurate and consistent data allows for less friction, better conversion, reduced fraud, and ability to enhance the overall customer shopping experience. 

The card networks provide all this data to acquirers on every transaction.  The question becomes 1) Are the acquirers (specifically their processing solution) able to ingest the raw data from the card networks and pass it along to their merchants, and 2) are acquirers able to help their merchants interpret the data in a meaningful, actionable way, which includes:

  • Granularity into why a transaction is declined, as well as the best way to determine if and when to resubmit the transaction for authorisation.
  • Consistent data in the authorisation and clearing records which helps reduce the likelihood of behavioural pricing from the card networks (think Data Integrity Fees).
  • Valuable insights into shopper profiles, such as card type being used—is it a high net-worth individual using a Platinum Card or a person using a pre-paid card with a finite amount to spend.
  • Ability to identify existing customers and offer special programs (discounts, upsells, BOGO, etc.)
  • Offer shoppers an enhanced in-store experience by identifying frequent or loyal customers and providing them with faster checkout via queue busting.

To summarise

The use of data should not be limited to a few high-volume shopping days per year.  Savvy acquirers need to make data a central part of their solution and offer this type of data every day.  Offering the data alone is not enough.  Acquirers need to help their merchants interpret the card network data that they are providing, allowing their merchants to improve their overall processing, implement programs to benefit their customers and ultimately increase merchant satisfaction and retention.


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About The Author

Jonathan Fuller has held numerous client and partner-facing roles over the course of 18 years in payments at companies including  ChasePaymentech, RBS Worldpay, Adyen, Vantiv, Silicon Valley Bank and Gulf Oil.  Jonathan is leading the Silverflow expansion in the United States.

About Silverflow

Silverflow is a global payments technology company, founded by online payments industry veterans, with the mission to accelerate technological innovation in the payments industry. Silverflow’s cloud-based platform provides a state-of-the-art upgrade and direct access to the card networks for payment services providers, merchants and acquirers. Its intuitive product and scalable technology provides value, creates efficiencies, and drives new opportunities for all. Based in Amsterdam, Silverflow is backed by Crane Venture Partners, INKEF Capital and notable angel investors from Pay.On, First Data,, and Adyen. 

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