- 19 Oct
Black Friday: Are You Ready?
Have you noticed the chill in the air recently? It’s the bated breath of retailers across the world as they brace themselves for the overwhelming consumer demand riding on the wave of Black Friday. Dramatic, but perhaps a necessary introduction: this year, it’s set to be even bigger, with the media latching onto the current prediction that November 27th could be the UK’s first ever £1billion shopping day.
With just 6 weeks to go until Black Friday, here’s a few useful facts to start with:
When is Black Friday 2015? 27th November
How much did Black Friday make in 2014? $50.9 billion was spent during the 4 day Black Friday weekend worldwide in 2014.
How much did Brits splash out online during Black Friday 2014? An estimated £810m, according to internet retail experts IMRG. This was an increase of 74% on 2013 figures.
We have also examined the consumer sentiment around Black Friday in a recent Retail Assist survey. Check out the response in our infographic below (and don’t forget you can share with it with the embed code).
With just over half of respondents planning to buy something on Black Friday (59%), it might seem that the pre-event demand is on the low side, given the current £1bn predictions. However, this figure doesn’t take into account the amount of impulse buyers (potentially the remaining 41%), who may on the day decide to purchase in the face of rock-bottom prices. And it’s this “unpredictable” demand that caught the majority of retailers out last year (recall those day-long website blackouts, fatal supply chain breakdowns, and logistics nightmares?)
In terms of the winter shopping season, Black Friday is still the premier shopping event, with 53% of people saying it’s their preferred discount shopping event. 36% prefer the New Year Sales, with a small 11% opting for Boxing Day, previously a well-established tradition in the retail calendar.
Perhaps the most interesting majority is the massive 70% of respondents planning to shop Black Friday goods online, compared to just 30% in-store. This means that retailers will need to provide a faultless ecomm experience, and take preventative measures to ensure websites don’t go down.
Apart from considerations of the scale of the event, many are wondering what else will be different this year. As retail IT specialists, we’re interested in the lessons learned from last year regarding supply chain resilience, including fulfilment and delivery promises.
Some retailers, including Oasis, have announced plans to scale down this year, focussing on 100% fulfilment of the customer promise for a better brand experience, rather than over-exert and under-deliver. We might expect to see more social interaction in real-time from retailers updating customers on orders, to improve the customer experience further.
Deliveries might experience a different slant this year; new click-and-collect charges could decrease consumer demand for delivery to store. However, omnichannel must still be a priority, as consumers expect the same Black Friday brand experience online as they would in-store, with a full range of order and delivery options, to ensure they can really buy anywhere, at anytime.
Gearing up for returns must also be a top consideration: as consumers expect to buy more, they will inevitably return more. This calls for a fully integrated omnichannel supply chain solution, with 100% flexibility and availability to fulfil and also have orders returned across any channel (i.e. buy online and return in store, the bugbear of many a consumer).
Make sure to check out our post Black Friday analysis blog, for a full analysis and breakdown of this year’s event.