REPORT UK retailers should batten down the hatches and prepare for this year's slew of seasonal discounting days is about to begin. With last year's holiday shopping bonanza Black Friday raking in a cool 810 million pounds online, this year's discount frenzy is expected to see UK consumers spend
a whopping 1.07 billion pounds online. This would see the shopping spree become the first event to cause UK online retail sales to exceed 1 billion pounds in a single day, according to global information services company Experian with IMRG, the industry's association for online retailers.
UK retailers prepare: Black Friday to be bigger than ever this year
Experian and IMRG caution UK retailers to prepare for this 32 percent increase in spend on Black Friday, which falls on November 27 this year, as well as an increase in spend on other pre-Christmas shopping days such as Cyber Monday, on November 30 and Manic Monday, falling on December 7. Cyber Monday is predicted to a 31 percent increase in sales, up from last year's 720 million pounds and Manic Monday a 10 percent growth from 666 million pounds to 733 million pounds. UK retailers are also set to see a boost in sales on Christmas day and Boxing Day, up 11 percent and 22 percent respectively to hit 728 million pounds and 856 million pounds this year.
Both companies warn UK retailers to be prepared for an influx in sales and ensure they logistics are up to speed, as last year's online shopping fenzy saw a number of retailers such as Amazon, Debenhams, River Island and Shop Direct struggling to keep up with deliveries in the run up to Christmas. IMRG lists three key considerations retailer should take into consideration in order to manage their Black Friday succesfully, which include a vary in demand, next day delivery capacity and delivery promise.
"The size and scale of Black Friday 2014 took everyone by surprise, overwhelming some carrier and retailer operations, as order volumes came in at a full 30 percent higher than expectation," commented Justin Opie. managing director at IMRG. "All the indicators point to a much larger Black Friday this year – both in terms of greater numbers of retailers taking part and growing shopper interest – so the opportunity is vast, but there are many things to consider if it is to be managed efficiently and effectively."
"The first is that we expect Black Friday to become the ‘Black Friday period’ for some retailers, who will run campaigns over several days or even weeks. Also last year anticipation of Black Friday led to a slow start to the Christmas shopping season and panic-discounting by some, which impacted on profit margins. Finally it’s important to ensure that customers get the delivery experience they have been promised. Retailers should remember that many shoppers will be happy to wait longer than normal to have their orders delivered if it’s still several weeks until Christmas Day."
"This will help to ease the strain on fulfilment operations, should bottlenecks occur."