This year’s Black Friday, falling on November 25th, will be bigger than ever.
However, many retailers still seem to be unprepared for the onslaught of shoppers and, despite trying to take different approaches to avoid the chaos seen in previous years, still face challenges as the rush comes.
Last year retailers finally started to wake up and capitalise on shoppers’ thirst for Black Friday deals, with 65% of retailers in the UK putting out deals and offers over the weekend.
In order to truly reap the benefits of Cyber Weekend, retailers must continue to take these measures and we expect to see this amplify even further this year.
So, what measures did retailers take last year to make it a success?
Greater promotion of in-store ‘click and collect’ services
The majority of retailers (86%) aimed to ease the pressure on delivery firms and ensure that customers could get hold of their purchases quickly by encouraging more consumers to collect items in-store or use ‘commute-and-collect’ services such as Doddle.
Create dedicated Black Friday shopping pages
Retailers understood that shoppers wanted to find Black Friday offers fast, 84% of retailers planned to clearly signpost Black Friday deals online so that shoppers could find deals faster and more easily.
Longer delivery time for Black Friday orders
Retailers recognised that most Black Friday sales don’t require next-day delivery. As such, 78% of retailers decided to increase delivery time, with many requiring up to 4 -5 additional days to deliver to customers.
Increased capacity and website bandwidth
To prevent websites from ‘toppling over’ after being inundated by shoppers, 78% of retailers decided to build extra capacity into their websites and rented additional bandwidth over the Cyber Weekend shopping period.
More capacity in the distribution chain
68% of retailers planned to hire or rent more storage capacity near urban hubs, block-book delivery services in peak periods to ensure deliveries can be made, and use multiple distributors instead of a single distributor to avoid any bottlenecks during peak periods.
>See also: How to prevent Black Friday being a blackout
We’ve seen that taking those steps ultimately proved to be successful for retailers.
Last year, Black Friday figures soared with Brits spending £1.1billion online on the day. Cyber Monday wasn’t far behind, as the same research shows that £968million was spent online – making the Cyber Weekend the most lucrative in history.
However, retailers who didn’t adequately prepare faced another year of online chaos – research from web monitoring firm Traffic Defender found that at least 15 retail websites suffered some form of loss of service on Black Friday, meaning that they were potentially missing out on the £763,000 being spent every single minute online.
What can we expect for 2016?
Brits will spend approximately £2.8billion this year over the Cyber Weekend, so retailers need to avoid over-stretching themselves at the cost of the shopping experience.
Retailers should offer fewer time-bound deals and take a more realistic approach to shipping, with longer delivery times yet again.
There will be a greater emphasis on click-and-collect services this year, due to the increased convenience they offer shoppers and retailers.
The mobile continues to be huge, as more and more Brits rely on their smartphones to shop. Last year traffic from smartphones made up 44% of all traffic to retailers’ websites, so ensuring your site is a) mobile optimised and b) able to withstand increased traffic from mobile and desktop devices alike will be crucial.
Over the past 3 years Black Friday has become an institution for British shoppers and there is no doubt that it is here to stay.
Retailers need to think about how they can prepare the Black Friday weekend strategically, to capitalise on the weekend’s action and take a slice of the money-making pie for themselves.
Sourced by Giulio Montemagno, the SVP & GM International at RetailMeNot