Black Clouds Starting to Form Already for Retailers for Black Friday
During recent meetings with senior retailers in both traditional bricks and mortar and online space SmartResponse note how much of a concern, not a commercial benefit, this relatively recent consumer buying annual event of Black Friday is perceived to be by ‘the trade’.
Retailing has and will always continue to be both a seasonal and ‘event driven’ business. Since the advent of Christmas commercial urban myths – and some reality – dictates that the last two weeks of trading pre December 25th are often the key determinates in whether household name retail brands make annual profit, or losses. Black Friday has fundamentally changed the profile of Christmas forever…
The layman’s view of Black Friday – now established in both retailers and the public’s mind alike as a key marquee date akin to the imminent Father’s Day event profile – from recent SmartResponse observations is nothing less than a ‘poison chalice’ from a commercial and operational perspective.
In essence the US imported Black Friday phenomenon of offering standard discounts of up to 20% on the last Friday of November has distorted Christmas retail trading that is already becoming increasingly unpredictable as the consumer continues to adopt an increasingly multi channel buying behaviour.
So Black Friday not only changes the buying and stock management dynamic of Christmas for any retailer at a macro level – as discounted sales are inevitably brought forward – it also challenges the multi channel capacity and operational efficiency of any retail business. There are a myriad of stories circulating that retailers just could not cope with consumer demand in 2014 for Black Friday and this year are bracing themselves for an even greater ‘spike’ in sales for Black Friday 2015.
SmartResponse has yet to hear an entirely positive view from the trade about Black Friday – in essence it appears to be a competitive obligation and must have event for key retailers. Any successful Black Friday will therefore be governed by any given retailers ability to embrace the operational challenge and to be able to deliver the initial Christmas rush.