Black Friday 2015: Hoping to avoid Black Eye Friday? The key is preparation, preparation, preparation

John Roberts
Who's the greatest (Black Friday retailer)? (Source: Getty)
t is universally accepted that the scale of Black Friday last year was a surprise. It was the Eric Morecambe of retail outcomes – all the orders came in just not necessarily in the right order.

As ever, you saw some retailers react better than others and companies’ intuitive values took over. What comes first? Sales? Service? Customers? Profit? Or even the safety of shoppers and employees?

The answer will have varied across all retailers and how they have applied the various lessons for this year will be very interesting to see.

The key to a successful Black Friday for any retailer is preparation. It is important to manage the process responsibly and keep your promises. Research suggests 65 per cent of shoppers thought retailers weren’t prepared enough last year and the big question on everyone’s lips is: will they be ready this year?

Brits are expected to spend a whopping £12,384 every second on Black Friday 2015 so the logistical challenges of the day cannot be underestimated.

Last year some couriers refused to take on any more deliveries due to the backlog created by Black Friday. We delivered to our customers as promised in 2014; even so, we have increased the number of our delivery vans available over the Black Friday period this year by 16 per cent to cater for another jump in demand this year.

Others who don’t own the full journey of the product from first click to the customers’ front door need to be able to trust their external couriers – these businesses are said to be hiring 7,000 drivers to meet Black Friday demand. But will it be enough?

Retailers need to research, anticipate and deliver the stock that will see highest demand on Black Friday. What customers didn’t like about Black Friday 2014 was having a physical fight to bag a bargain and products running out within the first hour of trading.

Online retailers provide a much safer environment for customers to shop from the comfort of their sofa. In-store outfits in contrast need to not only worry about availability, but also have an appropriate number of staff on hand to advise and ensure the security of customers.

While last year’s dramas are unlikely to have discouraged consumers who are always ready for a bargain, they may be more discerning about who they trust this year with their hard earned cash.

Press appetite following last year’s frenzy will be bigger this year and that will only add fuel to an already roaring fire. The genie is certainly out of the bottle, so any idea that we can either cancel Black Friday or spread it out feels like suggesting to Santa that it would work better for him to deliver throughout December rather than on Christmas Eve – it might rather remove the magic.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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