Black Friday Hits UK High Streets!

By: Clarabridge Team

December 17, 2013

By:  Peter Mann, VP of Sales, EMEA

I’ll be honest, shopping doesn’t make my top 10 favourite things to do list….actually, the thought of queuing to make a mad rush and scramble for the bargains is not enticing. I just don’t get it! But millions do and Black Friday’s popularity is spreading its wings over the Atlantic to the UK.

BlackFridayAsdaHow did Black Friday get its name anyways? Two reasons:

1. The phrase was coined by Philadelphia Traffic Police, who nicknamed the peak cut-price shopping Friday following Thanksgiving, because of huge traffic problems it caused in the city and, the many scuffles that broke out in stores.

2. Bankers and retailers alike named it for driving profits into the Black.

Now it seems UK retailers are looking to expand the phenomena alongside their US counterparts. ASDA, the UK supermarket business owned by Walmart, launched Black Friday across its UK stores on a scale not previously seen before and, others like John Lewis and Dixons, joined in the frenzied fun. In truth, it was more of a bun-fight, bedlam and chaos as shoppers fought for bargains and, shelves were cleared in minutes as stores were overrun. A pretty similar sight to the US Black Friday in-store experience!

Whatever we may think, Black Friday is gaining traction in the UK. Along with its far more civilised digital sister, Cyber Monday, the success is astounding, with one online retailer in particular seeing spectacular growth in sales across the two days. Amazon reported that they had around 47 items leaving their Rugeley, UK distribution centre per second! By the end of the day, Amazon processed a total of more than 4.1 million items.(1)

The Black Friday frenzy seems to be growing in the UK.  As more and more UK retailers follow suit, what do they need to be thinking about?  How will they manage the crowds, bargains and still come out on top? Certainly, in this age of the consumer, they will look to the customer to sharpen their competitive edge. With millions of customer purchases come volumes of customer feedback. Retailers will not only want to harvest the rich insight in this feedback but, monitor underlying and real-time trends, and engage with customers as they tweet and post in-store.

This is exactly what we at Clarabridge do for clients on Black Friday – real-time analysis and delivery of social, call-centre and operational insights to marketing and executives to take action!  Reports with short, impactful, journalistic headline as well as a feedback sample:

  • People complaining online about availability of items— Route to store product ordering.
  • People having trouble getting through to the call center– Route to Customer Care.
  • Too much violence or something developing in one of the stores– Route to the store operations leadership chain.

Many real-time insights driving real-time actions to optimize customer experience!