High Streets Initiative · 7 November 2018

High streets retailers must not join Amazon in a race to the bottom on Black Friday 2018

Black Friday 2018
Shoppers crowd London’s Oxford Street on Black Friday 2017
Independent high street retailers should not join online rivals in a race to the bottom this Black Friday, retail experts have warned.

Rather than pit themselves against online giants like Amazon on 23 November, retailers have been told use their own expertise to focus on the customer, as well as everyday value.

According to David Jinks, head of consumer research at delivery firm ParcelHero, traditional high street stores have no hope of making a profit by matching online sellers, considering the high overheads and operating costs of bricks and mortar retail.

He said: High street stores have wages and landlord rents to pay; overheads such as heating and electricity to cover, and, of course, exorbitant business rates to meet.

as such their bottom line is higher than online A stars? such as Amazon, ASOS and AO.

Jinks also pointed to B&Q as the latest high street name to shun ultra-cheap? deals on Black Friday, following the likes of Marks & Spencer, IKEA, Asda, Selfridges, Homebase and Primark.

A ParcelHero report, Retailers Reach the Point of No Returns, revealed a new reality for retailers. Customers now expect to be able to return any item for free, for any reason. On Black Friday, one in four items are returned.

Some 43% of B&Q customers said they often or always returned items purchased on sales days like Black Friday.

Jinks added: Black Friday shoppers expect rock-bottom prices but also the same level of service and expertise as every other day of the year; and that includes free returns.

if a retailer has already sacrificed most of their profit pursuing the Black Friday pound, returns will push that into a loss.

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Praseeda Nair is an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.