A little over a week ago, as we reached the point where it was precisely three months to go until Black Friday 2015 rolls into town, we reflected on the size and scale some people are predicting – will it be a £1bn day, for example?
We asked eDelivery readers to get in touch and share their pearls of wisdom on how to prepare for, and survive, Black Friday … what, we asked, is your rule of three for Black Friday 2015?
Responses came thick and fast. So, here is the first of what is about to become a semi-regular feature, where we share readers’ thoughts on being ready on 27 November.
Jim Wilson, MD, Born Gifted:
“Make sure you forecast stock requirements based on last year but add 10% for growth. It’s better to slightly overstock than let your customers down. You can always sell surplus stock at a discount to shift it.
“Don’t forget to stock up on extra boxes and packaging materials (mail order companies) …
“Consider diverting your offers to different days or spreading out deals over a couple of weeks. Part of the problem is the concentration of deals from retailers over a very short period of time.”
Jamie Turner CTO, PCA Predict:
“My number one piece of advice for retailers is to test site performance before the event. Often there’s so much emphasis on the marketing and sales of the holiday season that we forget the basics, such as ensuring that our websites will function properly and the servers are equipped to handle the surge in traffic.
“Royal Mail highlights incorrect and outdated addresses as one of the main reasons for post not reaching its intended destination. So invest in intelligent form validation in the online checkout in order to capture accurate delivery addresses at the point of entry. When the presents don’t arrive on Christmas day it isn’t the couriers that get the blame, it’s the retailer.
“No news is probably bad news in the eyes of the customer. Keeping them informed will go a long way to maintaining satisfaction even if an order is going to be delayed. Reaching out will also help to control the number of inbound enquiries your customer service team have to deal with.”
Dick Stead, executive chairman of Yodel:
“Retailers need to work with their parcel carriers closely, both to predict volume and to ensure that the promises that they make to consumers can be fulfilled. We have to make sure every part of the chain, from marketing, IT and fulfilment through to delivery, is aligned and prepared for Black Friday.
“The UK’s next-day delivery capacity is finite and last year’s flash sales saw the parcel industry struggle to cope as retailers offered free next-day delivery as standard. A simple solution is to spread the demand and our research has shown that 76% of consumers are willing to wait a little longer for delivery in return for a fantastic deal, so long as you keep them informed about the progress of their order.
“However, there is no one size fits all. Customers deserve choice and there will always be some shoppers who really do need their item the next day, so make sure that service is still available for those who genuinely need it. Our research has shown that in these instances consumers are willing to pay a small premium to ensure that it arrives on time.”
Read more on that Yodel research here on eDelivery, and watch out for more readers’ rules of three.