Tomorrow, the whole Internet will slow to a crawl as people rush to their favourite online stores to buy anything and everything they can get at knockdown prices.
So why have so many brands in the UK adopted Black Friday, and is this really the right vehicle to grow sales for every business?
Originating from the US in the 1930's, the day after Thanksgiving was unofficially regarded as the first day of the festive shopping season. Stores traditionally open for long hours and hold massive sales with a view to generating huge footfall over a very short period.
This has, in recent years, moved into the online space, and just last year this resulted in high street sales diminishing as retailers saw a 0.4% fall in like-for-like sales compared to the same month in 2014*.
With so many brands all holding Black Friday (and let's not forget Cyber Monday) sales, it has become increasingly difficult to get share of voice. Just typing in #BlackFriday into Twitter will give you a timeline updating so fast it will make you dizzy and it's not even the big day yet!
Server loads to individual websites can potentially increase 100-fold, and for the unprepared, this means downtime on potentially one of the busiest days of the year.
Pricing and inventory errors on websites, caused by the mad rush to get stock listed have affected numerous brands over the years and when those prices aren't honoured or orders aren't fulfilled, customers are lost long-term due to the poor experience.
Just yesterday, Argos listed an Apple Mac 5 for £100, leaving many customers thinking they spotted a super deal, but finding it was not going to be honoured when they tried to buy**.
Plus, there's the growing community of boycotters who will be actively avoiding any purchasing on this, the most consumerist day of the year***!
No wonder then that some companies are starting to skip the Black Friday madness to seize upon the opportunities less competed periods have.
Social selling can be maximised by timing posts when your customers are most online. Many online stores post in business hours, only to see most of their sales happen on evenings and weekends, so scheduling posts and having responsive communications in these times can help maximise sales made.
Offering time-limited or "Flash" sales - the same philosophy as Black Friday - just not timed when everyone else is running them, can also have a big impact, particularly when you have a lot of window shoppers on your site. Big headline discounts can often give them the impetus to convert.
Finally, offering instant customer care - whether through social media channels or on your website with a live chat function - can also make the difference between winning the sale and losing it to a competitor.
This year, it's already been decided which way you'll go. You'll have chosen to hashtag #BlackFriday across all of your promotions tomorrow and will be carefully monitoring server load, inventory and sales. Or you'll have selected to zig where others zag, with a smart sales push driven to market after all the noise has quietened.
Either way, we wish you a great Black Friday but moreso, a steady stream of sales going forwards through a smart selling strategy.
If this has prompted you to think about how Social Selling could work for your brand, please call us on 01543 495 888.Sources: