Black Friday 2015: What UK retailers need to do to make the most of the retail bonanza on 27 November

James Eiloart
Retailers must harness the power of data analytics (Source: Getty)

Last year, shoppers in the UK spent a staggering £810m during Black Friday and this year is set to break all previous records. For the first time ever, consumer spending across the nation is forecast to top £1bn in one day, representing an enormous opportunity for UK retailers.

The impact of Black Friday for retailers cannot be overstated. However, the importance of making quick, accurate business decisions within such a short amount of time can mean the difference between success or a short-fall.

Seasonal preparation is important, and for retailers of any size this means interrogating data. Big data offers an opportunity for retailers to set in place more efficient operations ahead of Black Friday – enhancing customer service, improving supply chain logistics, reducing costs, and engaging better with customers.

Read more: Last year's chaos has put shoppers off Black Friday

Last year, more than 60 per cent of UK retailers recognised this potential and outperformed their own expectations for Black Friday, all by leveraging data for improved business decisions. As a result, this year retailers using data analytics are already three times more optimistic about a successful Black Friday in 2015 than those that don’t.

How will retailers be using data analytics? We recently conducted research amongst senior decision-makers in retail and found that people were hoping to improve customer service (24 per cent), targeted marketing (19 per cent) and reduced costs (14 per cent).

Online sporting goods retailer Wiggle, for example, wades through vast amounts of data from disparate sources in order to provide the most relevant, customer-focused initiatives.

However, not all UK retailers are taking advantage of this to improve their chances of success for Black Friday. Retailers are surprisingly complacent when it comes to using analytics to drive a successful pre-Christmas sales season - nearly one in four are not planning to use it and when it comes to smaller retailers, the study shows that almost half (49 per cent) say they don’t currently analyse their data.

To make the most of Black Friday this year, retailers must harness the power of data analytics. Even the smallest organisations can unlock valuable insight by, for example, looking at recent stock supply, social media engagement, or sales figures to identify trends and customer demand.

For all retailers – especially those without substantial tech resource and investment – data visualisation is the only efficient and effective way to unlock data’s full potential for business success.

One thing is clear: retailers that do not do this will miss out on a real opportunity to optimise profits from what promises to be our biggest Black Friday yet.

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