Once, the British high street was a hub for a purchaser’s every need. But today, it’s turning into nothing short of a ghost town. This was clear during Black Friday last year where high street visits and sales declined by 6.5% compared to the year before.
With this year’s Black Friday event fast approaching, (November 29), will the prospect of a few cheap deals be enough to entice shoppers back on to the streets?
Despite government efforts to pump money into high street businesses, what can businesses do themselves to try and stay afloat and even prosper during Black Friday this year?
1.”Hot items will drive customers to your store”- Jurgen Ketel, MD Givex:
The primary purpose of Black Friday is to bring in shoppers who will then buy other products. The best deals are usually on products from the previous year or products that retailers want to clear out to make room for new merchandise. A lot of the time, the other products aren’t heavily discounted for Black Friday at all – in fact, they’re often at very similar prices the rest of the year.
Black Friday is also great for brand awareness – if you have deals on “hot items” you should be able to drive new customers to your store. And remember that online shopping is just as crucial on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Retailers need to be prepared for both an increase in foot traffic and e-commerce sales.
2. “Look beyond black Friday” – Andrew Dunbar, General Manager, Appnovation
Black Friday 2019 will be challenging for high street retailers because of aggressive discounting by online outlets. Traditional high streets will probably find it tougher than Westfield-style complexes, which offer a retail/leisure combination.
One possible way to counter the November downturn is to try and sell more aggressively in October and December (thus boosting overall Q4 figures). Keep in mind that retail sales in Christmas 2018 also dipped, so it’s important not to be so obsessed with competing in November that December sales also suffer.
Post-Black Friday promotions and discounting might help high street retailers claw back some lost ground – but set against the fact consumers have just spent their cash on Black Friday – particularly online – it’s likely to be too late
3. “Watch for technical issues” – Kieran O’Connor, UK Senior Regional Sales Manager at Jamf.
Outlets can face a serious set of challenges when trying to accommodate both the demand for products and quality service, whilst also seeking to facilitate the high influx of customers.
Research has shown that nearly half of retailers with multiple devices are more vulnerable to experiencing technical issues which could leave them poorly equipped in the wake of Black Friday.
This highlights the importance of having an appropriate management strategy in place, given that over 99% of retailers surveyed stated that they plan to increase in-store mobile technology use in the future.
More often than not, electronic goods produce the largest demand and this year will likely be no different, given the ensuing ‘Cyber Monday’ event that follows the Black Friday weekend, retailers need to be well prepared.
One of the best solutions that high street retailers can apply to help processes run optimally is to ensure that they have a mobile and app device management solution in place and that staff are adequately trained to operate devices and any inventory solutions. A roll-out strategy for this doesn’t have to take months – with the right modern MDM solution, this can be done in a matter of a few clicks.
4. “Stop relying on discounts”- Tim Carter, director of operations at SMP
Black Friday is challenging if all you’re relying on is discounts – they just don’t have the same pull factor they used to. Shoppers are addicted to permanent sales syndrome so retailers need to get increasingly inventive to lure people back into stores.
“One solution is to segment the shopping experience for select customer groups – for example, so-called ‘vampire shoppers’. Argos found that those customers – who are most active between 1:00 am and 6:00 am – buy 20% more products than the average daytime shopper. Retail brands could tap into this insight by hosting hourly flash sales at night.
Ultimately, the onus is on retailers to avoid scattergun deductions, and act on changing purchase patterns. They need to make consumers feel like their BlackFriday needs have been taken into account, and that could be something as simple as not having to tussle through hordes of other shoppers or not waiting in interminable queues to pay.
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