A tradition in the States, Black Friday will be hitting the UK Retail Market in a very real way. Born in the USA from the end of Thanksgiving; the last pay before Christmas, Black Friday is the start of festive shopping, bringing with it widespread discounts and inflated customer footfall. Various UK retailers rode the Black Friday wave last year, with countless others set to follow suit in 2014. Estimates by Visa suggest that UK shoppers will spend 22% more than Black Friday 2013, with £1 million spent on its cards every 3 minutes.
Kick-starting the frantic Christmas shopping season in such fashion sounds like the perfect opportunity for retailers, paving way for a profitable month in undoubtedly retail’s busiest period. However, with a far greater rate of store transactions, website visits and online purchases, Black Friday will place heightened pressure on IT systems to deliver and enable retailers to continue selling.
With the importance placed upon technology within the retail industry for stock management and payment processing, retailers could be in serious trouble if their infrastructure creaks under the pressure of the excessive demand placed upon them to deliver. And that is even before online purchases are considered, with the following ‘Cyber’ Monday anticipating a surge in activity; all of which could be lost due to incapable IT. Pushing technology to the limit could potentially cause widespread system failure, leaving retailers with empty tills and excessive stock.
Many retailers will see Black Friday as a defining point of their Christmas period, but the excess demand will put them under increased pressure. Failure to capitalise on the clamour of shopping could result in playing catch up throughout December. Black Friday really could make or ‘break’ your business; literally.