Black Friday is a retail phenomenon that has taken the UK by storm in the past couple of years, creating a frenzy of shopping activity as consumers rush to take advantage of the major discounts offered both in-store and online. And while the crowds can cause a crush on the high street, eCommerce outlets have their own problems to overcome.
A Brief History of Black Friday
Black Friday is a US import, although one which has been around in the UK for longer than many might realise. It was a phenomenon understood by analysts long before retailers became involved, turning a day that was occasionally the busiest and most lucrative of the year into a stand-alone event around which offers and promotions are now themed.
For Americans, Black Friday falls on the day after the Thanksgiving celebrations have taken place, at a time when many states have a public holiday. And while Thanksgiving may not hold any relevance for UK consumers, the positioning of this holiday in late November has allowed it to catch the attentions of those who are making pre-Christmas purchases.
Amazon began operating Black Friday deals in the UK back in 2010 and the craze has since spread to the majority of major and minor retailers, both online and off. And in 2015 analysts expect that shoppers will spend £1.1 billion in this 24 hour period in the UK alone.
This is a significant increase on the £810 million spend during Black Friday 2014, according to the Telegraph.
Preparing for Black Friday
For webmasters, the preparations for Black Friday will have already begun, since it is important to plan to accommodate the volumes of traffic that will invariably be generated on November 27th this year. There are also pitfalls to avoid. Last year even major firms including Tesco succumbed to technical issues and delays on Black Friday.
Testing the resilience of an eCommerce site prior to the big day, rather than leaving things up to chance, is essential. There are tools that can help you analyse the volume of traffic that the servers hosting your site can handle, including technologies such as Load Impact. Although of course for sites which are hosted on mainstream platforms, this may be less of an issue.
Outside of the technical preparations you can make ahead of Black Friday, it is also important to consider the fact that while sales activity may be concentrated into this small period, many customers will already have begun researching in order to uncover the best deals and offers. This is why it makes sense to promote the Black Friday price cuts you will be offering as early as possible. This will ensure that your site will be more visible to shoppers who are attempting to get ahead of the game right now.
Championing Cyber Monday
Black Friday is followed swiftly by Cyber Monday, which this year falls on November 30th. And many retailers create two different strategies to boost sales on these respective days, suggesting that it might be worth saving a few offers and promotions until Cyber Monday arrives to optimise your business’ performance this year.
The UK’s eCommerce market is one of the world's most advanced, with firms having to work hard to appeal to highly educated consumers. Many major retailers have already had their deals leaked, you can check out the latest and best Black Friday deals revealed on our recent blog post.