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Thu 22 Nov 2018 03:18 PM

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Opinion: why everyday is Black Friday for smart retailers

Sprii CEO, Sarah Jones, shares her insights on why forward planning is key to Black Friday success

Opinion: why everyday is Black Friday for smart retailers
Sprii CEO, Sarah Jones.

There are two words that strike fear and joy simultaneously into the heart of every retailer this time of year; Black Friday. Hear me out, because while most consider this shopping event as the ‘golden goose’ of the retail calendar, let me tell you - to really see an impact on your bottom line, it takes some serious planning to get it right.

Having evolved from a one-day shopping bonanza to a full-blown retail event that spans an entire week of discounting, Black Friday is no longer about how you react on the day, rather it’s more about anticipating and then strategising accordingly to ensure you have all bases covered.

While Black Friday’s adoption in the region is still fairly new, it’s clear consumer confidence in the concept is on the rise, something that is backed up by Google searches for the term - on mobile alone, they have increased 300 percent over the last two years. This intent to shop is evident when you look at the increase in sales around this period as well, with Sprii growing 250 percent year-on-year since it started participating in the holiday.

Of course, intent is all very well, but for consumers to convert - organisation is key. At Sprii, we prepped months in advance to serve our users in the best possible way, looking at the right product mix, our logistics channel (we recently opened a fulfilment centre to meet increasing customer demand) the marketing needs and of course, at the centre of it all, how our customer service team could cope with the influx of orders.

See what I mean about the mixture of fear and joy?! There’s a lot to consider, however when you do get all the moving parts to come together, you create something pretty special that will resonate with your target consumer. Simply offer them the right deal, at the right time and put them back in control as to how and when they spend.

As you’d expect, this makes commercial sense for us as well. As an SME, we’re much more agile than the bigger players, who prioritise quantity over quality and often lack the consumer-centric approach when it comes to shopping events like Black Friday. From our perspective, we’re better placed to reach the consumer on what matters to them – quality and choice of product, competitive pricing, a variety of delivery options that focus on convenience, especially when it comes to bulkier products, like the Pampers double mega boxes (always a key seller!) – and a customer service team that will go the extra mile.

As such, we’re rewarded with higher basket value purchases and an increase in the basket size by up to 20 percent over this period.

We’re fortunate to know our shoppers extremely well, understanding where they sit in the purchasing cycle and tailoring our offers accordingly. Mum or no, they don’t have time to price check 10 different sites, they want to engage with one retailer, be offered the best deal and have an experience tailored to them. The personal approach in a sea of mass communication resonates stronger than 10,000 products on offer that aren’t applicable to their needs in that moment.

While the introduction of VAT earlier this year and increased living costs has made consumers more cautious, they will still spend on what matters, providing the platform makes it as convenient as possible for them. Retailers, therefore will need to become increasingly aware of how they market themselves and what their ‘value add’ is. For example, Sprii recently launched an app in response to the fact that 80 percent of our consumers were shopping on mobile.

By using the data we had available, we were able to offer them an even more tailored experience. CX is so important to earning and retaining consumer loyalty, and with advancements in AI enabling even more possibilities, brands in future should be prepared to be judged solely on this.

Collectively as an industry, we can’t afford to focus all our attention on one day, or take our eye off the big picture either. The festive season is already upon us and yes, Black Friday may have bitten the dust for another year, but retailers should already be thinking ahead to their next shopping peak. We expect to see mums stocking up on toys, gifts and everything “travel” over the holiday period, which means we need to get everything in place now in order to fulfil that need quickly and efficiently - it never stops, and nor should it around such an important retail period.

The long and the short of it is that for the e-commerce eco-system to continue to thrive, a consumer-first mentality is the key for long-term success and this is something we are very heavily invested in, here at Sprii. Don’t be blindsided by trying to compete every year with the other players in the market, instead understand your offering, understand your consumer and then tailor your strategy accordingly. By doing so, you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Now, who’s ready for Christmas?

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