Ahead of Black Friday on November 25th, a new report has predicted that the month will be the first ever to see £10 billion in mobile sales.
According to global ecommerce consultancy Salmon, a record amount of money is set to be spent through mobile purchases in November. That’s based on data showing that the majority of online orders were made through mobile on Black Friday last year (51 per cent), along with stats from IMRG.
The research also predicts that this holiday season will also see a huge growth in voice purchases through smart assistants like Amazon’s Alexa.
Salmon, which in 2015 correctly predicted the first £1 billion online Black Friday,already has said that it anticipates £20billion to be spent online in total in November. Last year, it was said that Black Friday was to evolve into a ‘Black Five Day’ event. Now, Salmon is predicting that the entire month will take the form of a ‘Black November’, overtaking December as the biggest shopping month of the year.
As research from the firm points out, 45 per cent of consumers either already use or are planning to use digital assistants soon. On top of that, 20 per cent of all searches are now made through voice. Salmon says that it advises retailers to consider voice ordering in its peak operations strategy to cope with the increase in voice demand over the Christmas shopping period as children look set to turn to their Google Home or Amazon Echo for their Christmas lists.
James Webster, Head of Managed Services at Salmon, said: “Black Friday is no longer about one single day, or week – it looks set to take over the whole month. Retailers have realised the opportunity it holds to create an ongoing experience that can help grow their customer base and loyalty, and so it is now an expectation. Even those retailers who do not want to participate in the peak trading phenomenon need to be prepared for it as shopping fever takes over and consumers scour online retailers even if they aren’t offering discounts.
“The retailers who manage their peak trading operations well will be the ones who have made plans across all departments, and ensured that their systems are able to function across all channels, making it a success for both customers and retailers alike.”
With this period of peak trading becoming so important for retailers, Webster has shared his checklist with retailers on what they need to have planned and considered for their peak operations during this time of heightened activity:
- Plan for more than just the day: Black Friday is no longer a day-long phenomenon. In fact, we expect the whole of November to be taken over with retailers creating sales events throughout the month.
- Think about your international customers: In 2016 we saw a significant increase in international sales, which was seemingly due to Brexit and the depreciated value of Sterling against international currencies as it’s now more economical for overseas shoppers to buy from UK retailers.
- Think about the channels your customers will be using: With consumers now using so many channels to research and shop for products, retailers will need to factor this into their peak operations. From desktop, to mobile to voice, all areas will need to be catered for so as to keep the customer journey fluid for shoppers.
- Test, test, and test some more: For any online retailer during peak times, stress testing is of utmost importance if they are to deal with the wave of traffic coming in. By making sure stress-tests are taken well in advance, retailers can shore up performance during the peak.
- Get your systems in position: The consumer desire for same and next-day delivery has put enormous stresses on companies’ fulfilment and operations systems, as inventory now has to be ready to be dispatched almost immediately after purchase. All elements need to work collectively and equally quickly for retailers to survive heavy loads during peak periods as if one slows, it could decelerate the whole process.
- Team alignment: Communication is key. Departments across the business, from marketing, to the technical teams need to be fully briefed and aware of any peak trading plans. This includes making sure that the teams pricing and promotion strategies are consistent across online and offline channels, as conflicting information across channels is likely to confuse and lose customers.