With trends seeing increased requirements from the consumer for retailers to be competitive on price, coupled with looking for periodic discounts, it is interesting as to who takes the lions share of profit on Black Friday.
Historically we have seen vast swarms of people looking to get the best deals, however, the 2017 Black Friday event saw a drop on the high street and the expected ‘rush’ to be almost non-existent. Throughout the day, the retailers that have both bricks and mortar stores and an online presence saw the day peak online much later than anticipated, with high-street shoppers clearly deterred from the panic buying of previous years.
In fact, it has been widely reported that retailer Currys saw just one person come through the door at the 7.00am opening time for a pre-ordered laptop in 2017’s Black Friday event. For other retailers, the results were mixed dependent on the channels those retailers have available to them as reported by John Lewis:
‘’John Lewis described the promotional bonanza as “one of its most successful days”. The department store chain said it had its busiest ever single hour of online trading.’’
The potential of lines being out of stock could be a contributing factor as to the footfall drop on the high street, with people weighing up if it was easier to see if products were out of stock from their devices over having to park, queue and still have the potential to be disappointed. It is a known fact that these deals are limited in quantities and so consideration of how to acquire these goods is in the forefront of shopper’s minds. Shopping on the internet is always easier – the deals are just one click away allowing people to shop at their desks, on their commute and later in the evening.
In the states, Black Friday is part of a larger collection of seasonal discount events, the biggest being Thanksgiving which is then followed by Cyber Monday. This is more structured to some degree in the states with consumers having had these events as regular features within shopping calendar for some time, meaning that both shoppers and retailers are experienced in planning for this date. Thanksgiving is one, if not the most important holiday in the states and so this commits the Black Friday event further to the customers minds.
Amazon, being American in origin, has of course always celebrated this event and so naturally, the UK benefits from these offers and its seen as a key time to look for deals on goods by the consumer.
The best adoption rates for Black Friday 2017 were online the BBC reported:
‘’A whopping £1.4bn was spent on online sales in the UK on Black Friday – up some 11.7% on last year, according to online retailer’s trade body IMRG. But on High Streets, shopping centres and retail parks it was a different story with footfall figures down 3.6%, analysis firm Springboard said.’’
2018 Black Friday is looking to see the continued growth online, it is also predicted to last longer – it does in the US and so its highly likely we will see this trend in the UK at some point. Shoppers now expect to see discounts on the run up to Christmas and often the offers over the seasonal period is diluted somewhat as a result. The internet has made many much savvier in our shopping habits and bricks and mortar need to compete with online in any way possible.
Claire’s, Toys R Us, Calvetron Brands (Jacques Vert and Windsmoor) and now HOF to mention just a few, have all felt the pinch that is on bricks and mortar this year alone. It is now clearer than ever an online presence coupled with fitting seasonal promotions is key to survival and all channels that can be used to sell from should be maximised. By looking at the channels you sell from altogether, you are able to see which are performing and how you can make business changes to accommodate the peaks and troughs in trade.
Maximising on the amount of people who see your products by getting any Black Friday promotions out as soon as possible. The more consumers who know what you are doing the more chance you have of increasing sales.
If customers are looking at goods that have been massively reduced then they know they will have to be quick off the mark in order to secure them, but with it being such a competitive time in retail, ensuring your marketing and promotions are run in a timely manner is critical to both your shoppers and your bottom line.