Being prepared for Black Friday and beyond
Black Friday is perhaps the time of the year that we really take notice of what’s happening in retail. Not just because we all like to find a bargain but also because the performance of key retailers on this day can be a signifier of their overall strength.
This year is particularly interesting. In the UK, it has been announced this week that ASOS, the online clothing retailer, has overtaken M&S, a stalwart of UK retail, in terms of market value. Given the fact that retail is moving online this is hardly surprising. However, this is also the year that Amazon purchased Whole Foods and therefore the online behemoth moved into physical shop ownership. To add to the confusion, we also saw Walmart delivering a remarkable turnaround in fortune, with 13 straight quarters of increasing sales in the U.S. at a time when other physical retailers are struggling.
The above demonstrates that the expected move from physical shop to online is not quite as straight-forward as imagined. The physical store still matters.
The race is clearly on to find the customer experience elixir.
Here is our advice for retailers of the future:
- See your physical store as an asset, not a burden. Use it to give consumers an experience, to up-sell and to be a destination rather than just a store.
- Use technology to your advantage. Physical touchscreen terminals in shop can allow people to browse in-store with a customer services representative and choose or customize their product.
- Be prepared for any occasion and for large surge events. Make sure you have a payment services provider giving you the 24/7 support you need. Ensure you always have a back-up option for customers if a problem does occur.
Online ensure your website has the appropriate level of capacity. Have duplicates ready in case needed or a waiting area for traffic if you go over capacity.