Tuesday November 24 2015

Black Friday: be prepared for visits or be prepared to turn it on its head

Black Friday: be prepared for visits or be prepared to turn it on its head

The countdown to Black Friday and Cyber Monday is reaching fever pitch and forecasters are expecting it to break the £2bn barrier this year. While most retailers will be focused on preparing the best deals to get consumers flooding to their websites in droves, Louis Georgiou, managing director of Code Computerlove, highlights the opportunities open to those that have looked beyond ‘the deal’.
Taking learnings from last year’s Black Friday frenzie, there is an opportunity for the strong to survive. Crucially, for retailers who increase their hosting infrastructure to deal with the surge of traffic there is the opportunity to remain strong as others go down.  You can basically clean up on the remaining trade when those with ill-prepared systems start feeling the pain. Some retailers could really play on this in realtime on the day, exploiting social channels and digital marketing, re-directing consumers to sites delivering an excellent online shopping experience and offering the same deals that they had.
The second opportunity is if a site does suffer at the hands of the masses, play the popularity card and turn the failure on its head and promote it as over demand. Historically brands have, and can, turn the negative into a positive, indicating technical failure as a sign of success. Either way – be prepared and have communications channels at the ready.
To really appeal to customers on Black Friday, my advice to all retailers would be keep the sale real and don’t devalue it.  More harm can be done if the deal isn’t really a deal. Others have applied such paltry discounts to stock that it was also hardly worth the fuss.
We know from our own retail clients that consumers are still very much motivated by the prospect of getting a bargain, but are equally deterred when they feel sales are insincere. Black Friday and other major annual events are a great opportunity to delight customers with real bargains.
Next have always been a great example with the famous Christmas Next sale.  The opportunity to get real bargains has had customers queuing round their stores from 5am on Boxing Day for decades.  Hats off to them, it works and it’s authentic (bar the occasional rubbish they throw in).


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