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Colleen Harrison

Black Friday

Colleen Harrison, former head of marketing at PayFast, shares some insider info on how to make Black Friday work for your business.

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The journey that has brought Colleen Harrison to the role of head of marketing at PayFast, has been steeped in computers, tech and coding. She grew up with a brother who taught himself different programming languages, took computer science as a subject at primary and high school, and one of her first jobs was with a London-based online travel startup in 2008.

The latter ignited Colleen’s passion for online marketing and the digital economy, which resulted in her spending four years developing and implementing the digital marketing function at a traditional large-scale retailer.

Colleen joined PayFast in 2017 to build and lead the marketing team at a time when the online payments company was mushrooming from startup to scale up.


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About This Recipe


The Black Friday market in South Africa is estimated at upwards of R3 billion and PayFast data shows that the average online basket size increases by about 55% on the day. Not only do people spend more, they also actively look for things to buy. If you have something to sell, Black Friday should be on your radar.

If you are wondering how to get a slice of the pie, Colleen Harrison has some answers. As the head of marketing at PayFast, she understands e-commerce dynamics and generously shares practical advice for online retailers and bricks-and-mortar stores.

Importantly, Colleen flags the importance of seeing Black Friday as part of your longer term sales and marketing strategy. This includes using not only discounts to attract customers on the day, building a website that wins consumers’ trust, and tactics to reduce cart abandonment on your site.

What You'll Learn


Black Friday is all about getting feet through the door (online or in-store) with the biggest discounts possible, right? Not so, says this recipe. Entrepreneurs should rather apply big-picture thinking and use Black Friday for long-term brand building as much as short-term sales.

You’ll learn how to prepare for Black Friday, how to protect your margins while offering Black Friday value, and why upfront communication is critical to getting shoppers to complete their online purchases.

The recipe furthermore urges entrepreneurs to not underestimate the power of email, and to not be shy to personalise their brand and their business - trying to sound like a big business might not be the best tactic if you are small.


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