Pre-holiday sales in the UK
Black Friday is an American phenomenon where the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend retailers put up massive savings on merchandise leading up to Christmas, supposedly kicking off the Christmas season. Cyber Monday has arisen more recently as an online sales day where consumers can get great deals through internet store fronts. The sales events have grown to international levels and are stereotypically associated with crazed masses of consumers rushing madly to get the best deals first. Retailers need to prepare in special ways in order to handle the influx of extra traffic, both online and in physical brick-and-mortar stores. Here’s a few things that were done in anticipation of way above average sales.
There are many ways to give customers a discount, in most cases the simplest ones are the best. Examples for online stores include flat shipping fees, across the board percent off discounts or time sensitive “lightning sales” that would keep avid shoppers coming back through out the sale to see what new items are up for massive discount.
Many retailers set up difference websites or changed the appearance of their normal websites in order to display their sales. The trick is effectively present the sales items in an easy to navigate fashion so customers don’t get lost. Any changes to the normal layout of the website could result in confusion.
Traffic Control and Damage Control
As much as retailers prepare, greater traffic than expected can overload web servers and cause a website to crash. If this does happens, communication is key. Having a social media team informing the public via live social sites like Twitter and Facebook is key to saving face. In order to deal with huge numbers of traffic, some retailers put queues into place, only allowing certain numbers of shoppers into the site at a time.
2014 Black Friday
Although numbers are still being tabulated, all indications are that sales were better than ever. Amazon UK, for instance, is on record as selling 5.5 million goods, that’s 64 items purchased every second. Website traffic to John Lewis is being stated as being up 307% from normal. High end retailers typically didn’t engage in black Friday or cyber Monday sales, but general retailers in the UK and abroad all agree that consumers feel richer and sales were way up. It can be noted that there is a certain amount of fraud, and actual numbers won’t be known until a little later.