As shoppers queued for -- and sometimes fought over -- Black Friday deals on the high street, others made their way online for what turned into the biggest ever Black Friday for the UK.
Once the last dates for standard online ordering are passed this weekend, some sites may offer Monday as a cutoff, all attention will turn to the rush of the annual Boxing Day sales.
In preparation for peak periods, here are some top tips for retailers learned from Black Friday that will be useful next year, and could just come to the rescue on Boxing Day too.
1. Be mobile ready
Mobile not only kept pace with desktop on Black Friday, but the lunchtime spike actually saw more mobile conversions. This shows a definite need for retailers to be mobile ready for the sales period as consumers become ever more comfortable with not just browsing, but purchasing on their mobile devices.
2. UK shoppers love shopping on Black Sunday
Although we may have inherited the event from the U.S., UK consumers react differently to the sale period because we do not have the same structure of bank holidays as our American counterparts.
The conversion spike on Black Sunday was actually on par with Black Friday and higher than Cyber Monday. Retailers should shape their offers accordingly to make the great impact on the right days.
3. Make your Black Friday ad spend competitive
We saw huge increases in campaign spending this year -- which represents a very real push by UK advertisers to make Black Friday a big shopping event for the UK and resulted in a 561% rise in sales. Consumers stood up and took notice as the UK retail market fully backed Black Friday for 2014, representing a huge opportunity to drive sales.
4. Beware of consumer fatigue
This year the U.S. was widely reported as seeing an 11% decline over the sale weekend as online channels continued to take a bite from traditional brick-and-mortar store revenues.
Black Friday sales figures have taken a hit in the U.S. due to advertisers stretching their offers over the whole weekend, from the evening of Thanksgiving all the way through to the end of Cyber Monday. Many consumers now suffer from sales fatigue and would much rather not partake in the shopping frenzy.
As the years roll by, the longevity of this new sales opportunity will be dictated by how much UK retailers milk the novelty of Black Friday.
5. Prepare for a huge increase in site traffic
2014 saw the biggest traffic boost from Black Friday ever, and many retailers weren’t prepared for it. Make sure your site is ready for a huge increase in traffic -- major retailers including Tesco, Littlewoods, Game, Boots and Argos all experienced issues over the Black Friday weekend. Two-thirds (67%) of UK shoppers cited slow loading times as the top reason they would abandon a purchase indicating the kind of shortfalls retailers can expect if online shopping isn’t made quick and convenient.