The Black Friday effect on Christmas shopping
Christmas shopping and trading patterns in the UK have changed significantly over the past five years due to the popularisation of Black Friday. The event is now firmly established as one of the biggest days in the calendar for UK retailers, as Christmas shoppers flock to their stores and websites to take advantage of discounts.
Black Friday hails from the US, falling the day after Thanksgiving and regarded as the beginning of Christmas shopping season, as retailers cut prices to boost sales. This year it will take place on 23 November, followed three days later by Cyber Monday – a crucial day for retailers operating online.
Hallmark’s own trends indicate that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have forced retailers to think differently about sales in the run up to Christmas. Businesses are advertising Black Friday sales even earlier and starting offers from the beginning of November. This means retailers need to put strategies in place earlier in the year to ensure they are geared up for the festive season and can effectively maximise the potential of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
A huge £1.4bn was spent on online sales alone on Black Friday last year and research by PwC has found that consumers will predominantly be shopping online this year. Therefore, online retailers need to ensure all e-commerce ordering systems and fulfilment processes are firmly in place to prepare for a potential spike in demand.
Black Friday is a key consumer event for all retailers to drive their sales and profits but, to be effective and to protect the customer experience, it must be approached in a planned and considered way. The importance of this is highlighted by YouGov’s findings, which stated that almost half of those interacting with sales days in 2017 encountered issues with availability of items (28%), long delivery times (16%), or technical issues (10%).
Hallmark can help retailers, both on and offline, to effectively plan and put strategies in place to take advantage of Black Friday shopping trends and maintain customer satisfaction.
A successful Black Friday strategy starts with defining your goals:
- Who are you planning to target? Do you want to regain lapsed customers, or attract new ones?
- What is your product mix?
- What are your sales and profit margin targets?
- What offers will you be launching? These could include ‘early bird’, ‘door buster’ and ‘midnight madness’ deals
It is also important to consider:
- Timings, such as when you are expecting goods in and deliveries from suppliers
- Operations – is your website stable? Do you have the right staffing and resources? Have you got a well-established returns process in place?
How Hallmark helps clients to prepare
At Hallmark, we work with our clients as a partner through their peak customer periods. We provide storage for our clients’ stock, and have capacity to manage increases in stock levels, offer sophisticated fulfilment facilities and IT systems and have a ready-made workforce on hand, helping clients to avoid large set up costs and overheads.
Retailers can benefit from Hallmark’s specialist knowledge of the fulfilment sector, as well as packaging and shipping discounts and efficient international shipping. To learn more about how to choose the right fulfilment company to outsource to, click here.