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Black Friday & Cyber Monday: What lessons can be learnt?


Posted At: 03 December 2014 16:30 PM
Related Categories: Retail, Retail Marketing


With the chaos of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the US retail trends seem truly embedded in the UK shopping calendar.

The retail events have had positive results for some retailers. John Lewis, for example, saw a 21.8% rise in sales over the last week. Overall, it’s estimated that British shoppers spent nearly £810 million on Black Friday alone, with The Telegraph reporting that 404,835 orders were placed by 6pm Friday evening.

In comparison, Cyber Monday wasn’t as widely adopted, with 267,370 orders logged by 6pm Monday evening. This is despite estimations that Cyber Monday would generate £650 million worth of spending from UK shoppers. Experts believe that improved delivery times from major retailers and the rise of click and collect services means shoppers are more confident leaving online orders until closer to Christmas.

Considerable negative coverage has been generated by the trend – beyond media questioning how US-led trends have a place in the UK market. In-store and online, a number of retailers were unable to keep up with the high demand; Argos, Boots and Tesco all experienced website issues due to unexpectedly high traffic volumes. Additionally, high volumes of footfall experienced by most of the four big supermarkets required extra security and police support for crowd control.

For us at FSP, it’s clear that these two US trends are being firmly adopted in the UK by retailers looking to kick-start seasonal shopping. We’re certainly intrigued to see the sustained impact on sales for retailers such as John Lewis, when compared with last year’s figures – will people spend more overall, or are they just shopping early for Christmas?

Our personal Black Friday experiences identified clear winners and losers, with Amazon – a trailblazer of the trend here in the UK – emerging well, with minimal disruption despite promotional offers. With a business record of 5.5 million orders placed on Friday globally, Amazon revealed that by engaging with customer wish lists, the organisation was better placed to predict demand. Leveraging this data is a clever yet simple way of forecasting consumer behaviour, ensuring a positive customer experience.

Compare this with less experienced online retailers such as Smyths Toys, whose back log of orders from Black Friday has led to cancelled orders due to items no longer being in stock. The result? Disappointed, frustrated customers whose trust in the brand has been damaged.

From our own personal experiences and the rolling news reports, retailers looking to tap into this marketing phenomenon must ensure they can meet their consumer’s demands, be it integrated real-time stock information online or to extra in-store security.

Ultimately, this is a great opportunity for retailers. But the lack of preparation and failure to deliver this year could disengage consumers in the long run. Lessons learned from last weekend will be key to next year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday events.

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The opinions expressed herein are the personal opinion of the author and are not intended as statements of fact and do not represent the view of SnapShop or Pragma in any way.


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