Black Friday Holiday 2022: Finding Success Despite Uncertainty

Black Friday is one of the retail sector’s busiest days. With the UK expected to spend £8.71 billion over the 2022 Black Friday weekend, it is pivotal that retailers are able to make the most of heightened demand as the curtain raises for the festive shopping period. Compared to previous years, Black Friday 2022 is somewhat unpredictable. The ongoing economic crisis – which has stemmed from the long-term financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the war in Ukraine – changes the perspective of this year’s event. Consumers are expected to be more cautious with their spending this year, while retailers feel the pressure of finding success.

With questions lingering around the recession, and how retailers can maximise their results this year, PCR Magazine spoke to a number of industry experts to gain a better understanding of how retailers can prepare themselves for success in a year of uncertainty.

Utilising Technology to Cater to Customers
“Consumer demands continue to evolve, and today’s retail customer wants to be provided with options that fit to their needs. Particularly on Black Friday weekend, where great discounts can be found with a range of retailers, catering towards consumer expectations can be what sets retailers ahead of the competition during the festive shopping period”, explains Brittany Martincic, Director of Global Marketing at Teamwork Commerce.

“Shoppers demand flexibility and ease at every retail touchpoint and consumers need to be able to shop as per their personal preferences,” Martincic adds.

“With various retail offerings available – such as buy online pick up in-store (BOPIS), buy online return in-store (BORIS), complete online purchase and delivery, and solely in-store purchasing – consumers expect a seamless shopping experience at every stage of their shopping journey.

“To cater to this diverse approach to shopping, retailers must have an all-encompassing retail solution in place that integrates a range of technologies across the customer journey – all of which can seamlessly communicate with each other and provide a smooth experience. From an advanced order management system (OMS) through clienteling to accurate reporting and analytics (R&A).”

Dean Frew, CTO and Senior VP of RFID Solutions at SML Group agrees that catering to evolving customer demands is important on Black Friday, and explains the role that item-level RFID can have in streamlining operations that allow retailers to provide an omnichannel experience.

“RFID solutions provide an array of benefits, including closed-box receiving that is completed in a fraction of the time of traditional barcode scanning and at a much higher accuracy rate,” Frew notes.

“RFID also allows entire pallets of items to be replenished from backstock to the sales floor as replenishment during peak holiday sales periods is critical in order to avoid out of stocks on the sales floor.

“The ability to update the status of individual items, such as items reserved for BOPIS orders or in-transit products, is critical to accurately differentiating what stock is available during peak omnichannel selling periods.”

Black Friday and Sustainability
Conscious consumerism continues to grow within retail, and during such a turbulent period for retailers, it is important to not lose sight of the need to become more sustainable. 80% of products purchased during Black Friday are expected to end up in landfill, and Sander Roose, Founder and CEO of Omnia Retail, emphasises the importance of minimising environmental impact.

Roose explains: “Online retail – particularly around peak seasons like Black Friday – can be the antithesis of environmental sustainability objectives, with a significant amount of additional packaging, transportation emissions for the purpose of rapid delivery, and the rising rate of product returns ending up in landfills.

“Yet, 73% of consumers indicated they would be willing to alter their purchasing behaviour to lessen their environmental impact; clearly, sustainable e-commerce has stopped being merely a trend and is now a desirable strategy for many companies.”

The Continued Threat of External Hackers
Ever since the remote working boom caused by the pandemic, the need for resilient cybersecurity practices has been at the top of the agenda for many businesses. Retailers are no exception, and on Black Friday – where a number of eCommerce platforms are operating at maximum capacity, flooded with customers – online sales channels become a hot target for external threats.

Dominik Birgelen, CEO of oneclick, calls on retailers to not forget the importance of cybersecurity investment. “During the seasonal shopping season, retailers will be sure to make most of the increased physical and online footfall by leveraging impressive discounts and offers to attract consumers. Moreover, something which retailers must not skimp on is cybersecurity.

According to Birgelen, a robust cybersecurity strategy means that “retailers remain on top of the hackers’ target list. Cutting corners on cybersecurity can lead to huge fines from regulators and a loss of reputation and consumer loyalty in case any data breach occurs due to the lack of cybersecurity.”

Fighting Through the Noise
While this year’s Black Friday event might feel a little different given the economic climate, consumers are still expected to spend big. With competition remaining as fierce as ever, the right approach will prove successful for retailers aiming to get ahead of the competition.

Investment is necessary, and with innovative technologies deployed, retailers can both streamline their internal processes while delivering a high quality customer experience. However, it is important that these businesses also consider external factors, such as conscious consumerism and the demand for increased sustainability, as well as the continuing growth of cyber threats. By taking measures that account for all potential hurdles during the festive period, retailers can drive long-term business success.

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