From the BHS to Schuh, Tesco to Argos, everyone’s at it this year.
As a retail marketing manager I started running Black Friday deals here in the UK 4 years ago. At that time the only other major retailer really doing it was Amazon.
The deals were a success. Regardless of their US day after Thanksgiving origin, people here in the UK were clearly ready to shop, and a sweet discount guaranteed attention.
Fast forward four years and today, you’d be hard pressed to find a retailer who hasn’t marketed Black Friday deals and as awareness has finally hit the mainstream, so demand has rocketed.
Demand From UK Shoppers Explodes
Many deals went live at midnight last night, Thursday 27th – at which point retailers like Tesco went down. By the time I tried again at 6:30am on Friday morning, Currys, Game, Tesco and Argos were all down, unable to cope with demand.
For retailers skeptical about consumer demand in the UK, this proves that the average consumer is more aware than ever of the Black Friday phenomenon and that shoppers, many of whom have just been paid, have an voracious appetite for a pre Christmas deal.
When you are gifted with any period of time, during which demand naturally increases, ignoring it means you stand to lose out. Consumers who might have spent with you, will go wherever the deals are plain and simple.
So it comes from the U.S. is that a good enough reason to ignore such a huge sales opportunity?
Some in the UK are sniffy about Black Friday, complaining and pointing out the obvious. Of course we don’t have Thanksgiving here in the UK, so what?! Get over it already and realise that both Black Friday and Cuber Monday are key times in the shopping calendar when consumers have money in their pockets and are highly motivated and poised to buy.
This is especially true for big ticket items like tablets and TVs, but no matter what you sell, aggressive price cuts from your competitors will lure customers away.
The message is loud and clear to UK retailers. Adapt, plan and gear up for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday demand spike or stand loose out to better prepared competitors.