Building Products in time for Black Friday

11 January 2017 ‐ 8 min read

Ten years ago, Black Friday was viewed by the South African public as “something that happened overseas”. Perhaps it’s thanks to the rise and infiltration of the online world into our everyday lives that’s enabled the proliferation and adaptation of consumer attention towards more unique shopping trends or acts, but the arrival of Black Friday in South African stores has taken even retailers by surprise. Over the past three years, Black Friday has slowly become an almost-expected retail tradition, and many of our favourite South African stores are catching up.

What Is Black Friday?

Black Friday is very much an American invention and, since 1952, it marks the beginning of the festive shopping season. Traditionally, Black Friday takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving, which occurs on the fourth Thursday in November. Black Friday is marked by retailers offering big discounts on consumer goods, and the South African consumer marketplace started taking notice just after 2010.


4i and Checkers

One of South Africa’s most loved retail stores, Checkers, is one of the stores that hosts a Black Friday sale and, in 2016, this retailer took it one step further, collaborating with us to make shoppers’ experiences even easier. 4i proudly partners with Checkers to create mobile applications for their customers that create an even better shopping experience, and enables them to take advantage of discount coupons to save even more money while they shop. Launched in time for Black Friday on 25 November, our team designed and developed four HTML templates that cater for products, video, images and copy that live inside the native iOS and Android applications.

Our team designed and developed four HTML templates that cater for products, video, images and copy

What We Built

The four templates enable Checkers to quickly and easily create advertising campaigns across a mix of plain, rich or dynamic content. Each template can lead users somewhere different, and all of this is done from the backend. So neither development nor app store updates are required - all they need is artwork. Individual elements of the campaigns such as banners and categories can be turned on and off, so each campaign can be tailored, directing users to web views in the app that feel and act like native software.

In addition, smart functionality enables the team at Checkers to easily access key analytics of their shoppers’ purchasing behaviour. The Checkers team can tag and track user journeys, view what content they’re consuming and how long they are spending on it. These key analytics enable the Checkers marketing team to accurately measure and adapt the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

Each campaign can be tailored, directing users to web views in the app that feel and act like native software

Geo-location and Push Notifications

Incorporating geo-location technology and push notifications into the app, we’ve empowered the Checkers team to send targeted messages to certain user groups. Using Pushwoosh to implement push notification technology, the Checkers application can be used to further target specific user communities, and the team can use smart user segmentation techniques to serve unique messages to particular user types. For example, Checkers can easily communicate with its users about region-specific discounts, deals or specials, or prompt them to download a new version of the app. Our team updated the SDK for the application, which now enables Checkers to send customers messaging that’s linked to other campaigns or app functions, encouraging specific types of user behaviour.

Increasing the Marketing Arsenal

4i has equipped Checkers’ teams with a whole new bag of tricks to utilise for marketing purposes. Taking advantage of the Black Friday phenomenon became a little easier for our client, and enabled them to maximise marketing and advertising opportunities in several ways. Their team sent out full-colour splash pages, with links to the mobile applications’ listed deals, and SMS campaigns were used to bolster consumer interest in scooping up the savings and discounts available at Checkers through the Black Friday campaign.

Full-colour splash pages with links to the mobile apps’ listed deals were used to bolster consumer interest in savings and discounts

The 4i Perspective

The Checkers Black Friday campaign proved to be an interesting test and experience for our team. The turnaround time required for this implementation was somewhat limiting, but we used that as motivation to get the job done correctly. Our teams pulled together to develop and implement the Checkers Black Friday mobile components in just two weeks, after receiving a verbal brief from our client. We had to problem-solve on the go, and stick to extreme deadlines to ensure we could deliver the best product, with optimal speed.

The Results


The analytics showed a massive spike in app downloads, usage and time spent over the Black Friday and Christmas period due to the push messages functionality that was used and the unique app-specific deals offered.

Are you keen to work on incredible projects that sometimes put the pressure on to deliver? If you think you have what it takes to help us create and implement incredible campaigns for our clients, drop us a line on and let’s see if you’ve got the right stuff.