The pre-Christmas Black Friday sales period has altered the shape of the peak season forever, says distributor Tech Data, with more retailers thinking about it already.
Last year several big tech retailers had incredibly strong sales around the promotion in November, including the likes of Ebuyer, Currys/PC World, Tesco, Argos, John Lewis, Amazon and more - and this year it's set to be bigger than ever.
"Last year Black Friday was a game changer for us," Tech Data's retail director Adam Gay told PCR.
"A lot of retailers do use it for old stock, but in some of the meetings I’ve already had over the past eight weeks, we’re already talking about it for this year. Black Friday has changed the shape of peak, really. If you look at last year, Black Friday probably had a big percentage of strong sales in November, then there was a four or five-week lull, then leading up to Christmas it kicked off again.
"It’s what we’ve got to get used to now – it’s not going to go away. It’s so successful for these retailers, and I think what you’ll find now is a greater emphasis on that period, as there’s a lot to get right. It requires a lot of planning and resource.
"Our role within that whole piece is also about understanding the pressures around it such as deliveries, courier networks not being able to manage the demand and so on. It’s about trying to streamline that process and make it as smooth as possible during the period."
When asked about the change in UK shopper culture surrounding Black Friday in 2014 (prior to that it seemed to be a much bigger deal in the US), and in particular, the fact that several Tesco customers in the UK fought over Blaupunkt TVs last year in some disturbing scenes, Adam Gay replied: "It’s never nice to see something like that - the retailers would say that’s certainly not a planned activity.
"There’s a lot of retailers looking at Black Friday now and we’re still quite far away from it, but it’s not just about deals they will offer on the day, it will be about back office. And I guess store managers will have KPIs put in place around how they manage that.
"I can’t imagine this year will be worse than last year. It will be better, but how much better no one will really know until it happens.
"It’s about maximising the deals for the public. I think last year the behaviour of shoppers within some stores came as a shock to quite a few people. I think the retailers will certainly be more prepared around how they manage that this year."
Read the full article on Tech Data's retail push in the upcoming June issue of PCR
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