black friday

Black Friday, Cyber Monday – What have we learned?

  • Amazon reported biggest ever day on Black Friday with 6 million orders
  • Shop Direct sales up 36%
  • Web traffic on Black Friday up 16% vs last year
  • Footfall fell 4.5%
  • Currys PC World peak trading visitors per hour up 70%
  • Cyber Monday sales up 31% YoY to £968m

black friday

In store, this Black Friday was a far more civilised affair than last year, in part because the retailers burnt last year were better prepared this year or just not taking part, and in part because customers sought to avoid shops altogether and bag their bargains online.

So lesson one: learn from your mistakes. Who learned? Tesco

So what was Black Friday, became more of a Cyber Friday and Cyber Monday was therefore less impactful than hoped. Although Cyber Monday sales are reported to have reached £968m, it is less than predicted, diluted by stronger online trading on Friday.

Lesson two: compare sales and margin from the preceding Tuesday through to close of trading Cyber Monday for meaningful year on year data. Who this is most relevant to? Argos

Whatever your forecast for online traffic, up it for scenario planning. Despite lessons learned in previous years there was still evidence of either websites crashing or loading so slowly the sale was lost to a competitor. While some retailers talked of record traffic, and websites coping with the demand like Currys PC World, others were floundering and facing the social media backdraft of poor customer service.

Lesson three: Customer service is equally important online as it is in store. Who lives and breathes this? John Lewis

The customer that left the site due to poor service had every opportunity to buy the same deal elsewhere, particularly with John Lewis honouring its price promise and doing well despite website problems. There were any number of retailers offering TVs and Xbox One and if you couldn’t find a deal frankly you just weren’t looking.

Lesson four: To make your offer’s attractive, and to keep the sale, make your offer unique. Who should remember this next year? Sainsburys

The aftermath is the next obstacle and the next opportunity for retailers to maximise sales over the period leading up to Christmas. Returns will inevitably happen but strong descriptions and images online help to ensure the customer is confident of what they are buying. Click and collect gets the customer into store and gives the retailer an opportunity for add on sales.

Lesson five: Maximise the opportunity to build a customer relationship. Who stands to gain customers longer term? Currys PC World

There is always talk about lost margin at an event like Black Friday with heavy discounts. However most deals that we saw were either on special buys or on poor selling lines, and were therefore actually cash margin positive compared to not participating. The lure of customers onto the website or into store gives the retailer the chance to make that sale. By not taking part in Black Friday at all, customer traffic or footfall is lost.

Lesson six: You’ve got to be in it to win it. There’s always next year, Asda.

In summary we suggest that next year Black Friday will be the only event marketed with Cyber Monday being absorbed into what will become Black Weekend. One off special buys will prevail. Supermarkets will only participate with special buys. It will all be about the electrical and online retailers. And yes some online retailer’s websites will still fall over in the stampede despite what happened the year before, and the year before that.

1 reply
  1. Peter Traylor
    Peter Traylor says:

    Words of wisdom coming from Paul once again,you have truly uped your game over the years, my friend.
    Not sure if it was Harrods that brought the best out in you but, it has worked.
    Looking forward to more posts in the lead up to Christmas, hope you and the family have a good one.


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