With the dust having settled after Black Friday, retailers across the UK should be reviewing their website data and planning their approach for 2016’s event.
Black Friday this year might not have been the US-sized behemoth that many predicted it would be, however, online, it was still a big deal.
For most, the in-store experience was relatively muted compared to last year, yet online retailers still felt the pressure. Instead of facing the potential drama of shopping for items in-store, many consumers were clamoring for deals online. On the day, a quarter of retailers suffered outages with several leading brands such as Argos, Boohoo, Boots, Game and John Lewis affected. However, on the whole, UK retailers are gaining their footing. Several retailers stayed up-and-running throughout, including Very, Next, New Look, Halfords, M&S, Amazon, Debenhams and Currys.
Although some such as Argos struggled with fulfillment on Black Friday, many retailers running Black Friday sales were able to offer same day delivery in major towns, and free standard delivery. Because of this, shoppers didn’t need to brave the bleak weather or miss out on work commitments to make the most of the offers.
It wasn’t just a case of shoppers clicking buy at their desktop, mobile traffic has grown significantly this year. With the launch of new and larger devices, consumers are able to shop on their smartphones more comfortably. Brands fully optimised for mobile, such as House of Fraser, John Lewis, Topshop, BHS and Go Outdoors, were likely to have had strong conversion rates.
Retailers looking to take advantage of the continuing mobile boom and clean-up on Black Friday next year need to do more than just have a mobile optimised website. Top tips include making sure retina imagery is displayed, numerical and email specific keyboards are utilised and automatic geolocation is enabled. According to our own research over half (54%) of consumers have used their smartphone to look up the location/opening hours of a retailer and many (40%) struggle to see items properly on a small device, emphasising the importance of clear, high-quality images.
Initially, it was thought that the growing popularity of Black Friday in the UK was changing the shape of the Christmas retail calendar, with many beginning their gift shopping earlier. However, instead, it seems to be more of a self-indulgent day for UK shoppers with most choosing to treat themselves. According to YouGov online research commissioned by Ampersand, 63% of shoppers in Great Britain bought items for themselves on Black Friday, 30 per cent did this whilst buying Christmas gifts for others. A third only bought items for themselves and less than a third (30%) bought gifts solely for others. This counters the view that Black Friday has brought the Christmas retail calendar forward, as after the event, many may have still had the bulk of their Christmas shopping to do.