BLACK FRIDAY FOR SMES, WHERE’S THE POTENTIAL?
Independent Retailers: What potential does Black Friday hold?
Flash back to November 2014 and you may well recall bleary and black-eyed consumers, having queued all night for a 42-inch tv at a knock down price only for their efforts to end in a scuffle at the check outs making headlines across the UK.
A concept which began life some 70 years ago as post-Thanksgiving sale season in the US, this was the year ‘Black Friday’ became a firm feature in the UK retail calendar, and didn’t we know it? Scenes of bargain hunters locked in flat screen feuds and at war over white goods were splashed across the front pages, leading some to delight in the outrageousness of it all – and others to condemn its seemingly chaotic introduction to British soil.
Regardless, this month we’re all set for a re-run of the previous year and it seems Black Friday is, indeed, here to stay. So, as retailers what potential does Friday November 24, 2017 really hold?
Over the past three years, UK shoppers have come to expect Britain’s retail giants to make sweeping and unrivalled price cuts on Black Friday, but is this actually the case – and should smaller, independent high street retailers be following suit?
It is a fact that many smaller retailers today are creating something commercially superior in quality to that produced en masse by their bigger, more famous counterparts. The rise in popularity of the artisan trader means many now command a loyal and genuine followership through their ability to provide consumers with a highly personalised service, and/or a more lovingly created product at the end of it.
Achieving this, however, takes time and money that a mass retailer can often afford much more cheaply than an independent one can. In short, many smaller high street businesses simply can’t afford to take the hit, especially at their busiest trading time of the year.
How, then, are they to harness the power of Black Friday without cheapening their brand in the eye of the consumer, and/or risking going out of business altogether?
Avoiding cheapening your brand during Black Friday
Since 2014, experts say Black Friday isn’t actually leading us to spend any more than we did previously – it’s just pushing us to part with more of our cash earlier in the run up to Christmas than we did before. In January 2015 it was reported that the Visa’ UK Expenditure Index had shown that, while overall spending increased by 2.1pc in November compared with the same month a year previously, that December it rose by just 1pc.
So Black Friday should probably still play a role in maximising the Christmas sales season for any business, but it doesn’t have to affect the ability brands have to drive loyalty, improve profit and increase engagement through cheapening the overall value of their product offering in the process.
Other experts say Black Friday is helping the online shopping phenomenon to continue its evolution apace. The ever-rising use of smartphones to buy goods digitally means businesses are all about perfecting online experiences and interaction.
For some, refining their online presence has been a God send, while others who’ve fallen short of the expected requirements have quite literally ended up paying the price. For a majority of smaller independent and sole traders, of course, investing heavily in digital has up until now often been a slow and steady build and, for a few, simply out of reach all together financially. This is where the rise of loyalty platforms and the audiences using them have come into play, supporting businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Data, listening and loyalty supporting small businesses
When it comes to events like Black Friday and surviving the difficulties it could potentially bring to smaller retailers – that is, how to bring highly valued patrons the price breaks they deserve and retain customer loyalty and see off the competition with minimal financial impact – the ability to collect, analyse and above all act soundly on real time data is therefore paramount.
Regardless of any promotion a business is running (which, let’s face it, the majority do year-round these days anyway), the ability to connect and engage with customers on a deeper level will always see a retailer right. This comes through not only talking to your most loyal of followers, but also listening to them too. It is asking questions of them and recording their responses. It is learning their every habit and presenting them with the solution they seek with each and every transaction.
For a business to truly grow and prosper, the rewards to the customer must be free flowing year-round, not just financially but from a service quality perspective too. Memberoo not only opens these channels of engagement for the brands it represents, unlike other platforms it also leads users through the data segmentation process step by step, allowing businesses the ability to target marketing, offers and rewards and specific people in their loyalty club at any time of the year.
Essentially, Memberoo believes that giving the customer the rewards they deserve shouldn’t just be for Christmas, or indeed Black Friday. Done properly all year-round, the loyalty and strength of dialogue found in communicating with, and giving back to, your customers on a deeper level consistently can, and will, for many retailers help make November 24th, 2017 just another day.
To find out more about how Memberoo can help your business grow, visit www.memberoo.net
Give your business a loyalty boost
If you’re a store owner, you don’t need to install a robot to enhance the shopping experience. But the smartest stores are realising that they need to know more about their customers to start serving them better. That means encouraging them to share some of their data by giving them something valuable in return – special offers, discounts, the opportunity to be part of a club. That’s what Memberoo was built for.