DEBATE: Is there any point to Black Friday and Cyber Monday in Britain?

BRITAIN-ECONOMY-RETAIL-CHRISTMAS-BLACK FRIDAY
Thanks Amazon, thanks America (Source: Getty)

Is there any point to Black Friday and Cyber Monday in Britain?

Olga Kotsur, chief executive and founder of retail startup Mercaux, says YES.

Black Friday has matured into a major event in the UK retail calendar. While some may be sceptical about it (and the new “Cyber Monday” craze that now follows it), for many retailers it presents a great opportunity to build long-lasting relationships with customers while boosting sales.

But Black Friday will only be a positive if it’s managed well. The key, especially on the high street, is to help customers navigate through the noise. You need to stand out in a sea of Black Friday adverts, and our advice to retailers is to rely on your in-store teams.

Technology enables the sales team to locate the best offers, show unique style suggestions, and give shoppers instantly personalised service. Many customers won’t know what they are shopping for and stores must see this as an opportunity to give unbeatable customer service.

Shoppers will constantly be on the lookout for the very best deals – which means they need product information readily available. Black Friday will strongly benefit retailers that equip themselves with the tools to serve customers’ needs.

Read more: Black Friday 2017: Purchases hit a record high this lunchtime

Richard Taylor, managing partner at brand design consultancy Brandon, says NO.

Black Friday is nonsensical madness at a time when we need to engage our brains beyond wicked temptation.

“Bah Humbug” I hear you cry, but hold on. The disastrous effect of Brexit was amplified yet again last week; a lowering of growth expectations in the budget (1.6 per cent to 1.4 per cent GDP), France leapfrogging us to become the fifth largest global economy, and a government rapidly imploding.

I cannot recall a more dire state of affairs in my lifetime. Our riposte is to stick two fingers up and fritter away £1.8m per minute (an eight per cent increase on 2016) on a Thanksgiving tradition we don’t celebrate, for stuff we don’t need.

Our inboxes are bulging at the seams with temptation, that dopamine rush of blood to the head sweeps over us on the last payday before Christmas. We can’t or won’t say: “no, that doesn’t make sense”.

Thanks Amazon, thanks America – you’ve pushed us to act like lemmings heading into the abyss.

Read more: Retailers' profit margins have been squeezed since Black Friday hit the UK

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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