Of course not! The dust hasn’t even settled on last weekend’s retail frenzy. Mobiles are only just cooling down from the frantic online browsing and buying. Shop assistants are only just recovering after the onslaught of deal hungry shoppers flooding through the doors. But as with everything in business, and indeed life, change is a constant. Therefore, it begs the question – what’s next for Black Friday? Is Black Friday staring at a crossroads where as business owners and brand guardians we collectively need to reimagine this annual event?
The current Black Friday battlefield is inhabited by a mix of the establishment who roll out the same discounts year after year. The pretenders who recognise they need to be seen to be doing something but are afraid to damage fragile profit margins or negatively impact future sales during the crucial Christmas period so just pay lip service to the day with lacklustre promotions that get lost in the noise. And finally, those who shun the event altogether and risk looking out of touch eroding brand perceptions in the long run.
Data suggests that in 2018 shoppers were due to spend £2.44bn on Black Friday Sales. That’s a huge number. But this is in fact lower than 2017 where the figure was £2.6bn. With discounts and promotions being increasingly rife all year round in the UK, there is a growing sense of discount fatigue. People feel lost in the sea of promotions and often simply don’t know where to start. There is reason, therefore, to suggest that Black Friday has lost its impact. It’s lost its exclusivity.
There is, however, a lot we can learn from Singles Day in China, a shopping event that has been billed as the Black Friday killer in some quarters. Singles Day is more than just a big discounting moment. Yes, great deals are rife. But it was founded on the idea of self gifting, treating yourself to something special. It brings people together. It is celebratory. It’s even become a national TV moment with big names coming together to perform, sing and celebrate life, happiness and being together.
So, is the time right to re-evaluate Black Friday in the UK? Absolutely. The opportunity for retailers and businesses is to go beyond the discount and consider the whole brand experience. Use the event as a moment to say something genuinely meaningful about your brand. Create an experience customers won’t forget. Be different from the competition. Disrupt the norm.
The most successful brands will of course be those who can find harmony between bricks and clicks. Both are equally important, for different reasons. The very fact Amazon has started to venture from purely virtual to the physical retail world as well is evidence of that. So with that in mind we‘ve put together an infographic to highlight some of our observations from last week’s event and ideas for making next year's Black Friday even more memorable and meaningful.