'Black Fiveday' approaches

PCR looks at what the industry can expect from the November promotion period that will smash the £5 billion sales barrier
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This year’s Black Friday sales period looks set to become a week-long activity that will smash the £5 billion sales barrier, according to analysts. PCR looks at what the industry can expect from the November promotion.

In 2015, UK shoppers spent more than £3 billion during the Black Friday to Cyber Monday sales weekend.

This year, analyst Salmon predicts that the £5 billion barrier will be broken across five days, from Thursday November 24th to Monday 28th. It’s billing this sales bonanza as a ‘Black Fiveday’ shopping event.

Black Friday has increased in prominence in the UK over the past few years, with major retailers in the tech channel getting involved, from etailers such as Overclockers and Ebuyer to High Street chains like John Lewis and Argos.

It’s been a challenge for many, both in terms of arranging the specific promotions, keeping customers in line and keeping websites live under the strain of enormous web traffic.

Gekko Group MD Daniel Todaro told PCR: “The transition to a five-day event defeats the point of a one day blow out sale – once a way of shifting excess stock. Black Friday is now replacing Boxing Day/Christmas as the main sales period of the year. As such, spend will likely remain flat across the year, rather than increase as all brands would want. 

“A longer sales period takes away that element of impulse buying that made Black Friday so successful over the past few years. Deals were hard to come by, rewarding those who were quick to the mark. Now, with a possibly extended five-day sales period, ‘Black Fiveday’ becomes just another rather average sale without the excitement of the one-day event. 

“I suspect many brands would like to return to a single day event, keeping the traditional Christmas sales period as ‘peak’, kicked off by a single day in November.

“Online sales are set to once again overtake retail sales, with retailers once more looking at the stability of their online offerings. However, retailers shouldn’t forget that many consumers will want to experience the product first hand before making a choice, especially in the case of devices, wearables and
smart TVs. 

“Keeping your omnichannel offering a seamless experience for customers will encourage more shoppers to head to your store, whether through retail sales or via click-and-collect.”

“Extending the promotional period to a week helps to spread the load in terms of logistics, processing and shipping orders.” Nick Price,Optoma

Nick Price, Optoma territory manager however believes that an extension of the period will help to spread the strain of the day: “Black Friday has become incredibly important for UK businesses, including Optoma. It has intensified sales in November with those who would have bought gifts in December buying earlier and the early birds delaying purchasing as they wait for the deals.

 “Extending the promotional period to a week rather than just Black Friday and Cyber Monday not only extends the period for greater visibility, but also helps to spread the load in terms of logistics, processing and shipping orders.

 “Within the channel it allows us to strengthen our relationships with our partners to develop deals that they can go to market with over Black Friday week.”

Salmon’s head of managed services, John Beechen, ‎advises retailers to think about peak trading as a ‘crisis’ that they know will happen well in advance. 

“Preparation is vital, and retailers need to consider their business and operational plans for the period,” he said. “Retailers must also ensure that they have laid out clear contingency plans for their teams to respond to issues during the week. 

“The Black Friday week is an excellent opportunity for retailers to win new customers, grow their customer following and ultimately increase sales. The retailers who are as prepared as possible – from front-end to back-end – have been the ones to see success.”

 Salmon advises retailers to undertake performance tests of their systems, to stagger their marketing activities, prepare the business for any changes around Black Friday, ensure staffing plans are set, and to have a contingency plan, just in case anything should go awry. It is vital to make sure everything is set up.

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