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Black Friday Started Early!

So unless you have been completely ignoring your email you would have noticed that Black Friday Started Early this year! For those of you wondering where this came from it is an American tradition that the last Friday in November is the day to get special offers at the shops and online. Strangely this scramble at the shops comes a day after Thanks Giving where Americans give thanks for what they have…..Yeah I guess there is a little contradiction in there. However I digress, the fact is that in the UK we have started to see Black Friday start creeping into our own shops. Shops like Asda which is owned by American giants Walmart were one of the early adopters in the UK.

So Why Has Black Friday Started Early This Year?

Many years ago when I was a child we used to have something called the January Sales, anyone else remember them? It was when shops used to put everything into the sale and you could get a really good deal on something on the 2nd of January (Yep shops never used to open on Sundays or Bank Holidays in the eighties). Then when I was around 16 I had a Saturday job working for a shoe company. This was pre internet and everyone had to go to the shops to buy stuff. In the build up to Christmas things were as busy as always and people were buying presents like it was going out of fashion. Then my manager at the time, a guy called Chris Campbell thought it would be a great idea if we put the January Sale out in the shop on the 24th of December at 1pm! The shop closed at 3pm on Christmas Eve and this gave shoppers the chance to grab a last minute bargain before Christmas Day.

Well word got out quickly what was going on and sure enough we got really busy! Where this story isn’t overly interesting it shows that the January sales over the past 27 years have gradually crept up the calendar bit by bit. Black Friday has nothing to do with being an American tradition it is now about getting you to spend your Christmas readies with the company that can get their goods to the best deal the quickest.

Last year I ran a few experiments on a Black Friday, Saturday and Sunday, this year many retailers have picked up on the fact that there are early easy low hanging fruit to be had. However last year saw a lot of unpleasant scenes in stores around the UK as everyone went to get bargains (this video is not for the feint of heart):

So What Does This Mean For Smaller Online Retailers?

We all love a bargain don’t we? And it is the target of most online shoppers to get the best dea; that they can. So the fact that Black Friday started early is simply that, people are going to get their bargains a lot earlier this year meaning they part with their cash quicker. The thing being that most of the retail sites that we deal with are down on Christmas sales this year so far because people are holding out for the best deal possible.

So what does this mean for smaller online retailers? Well you haven’t missed it yet. Although you might be a little behind the curve with this one. My advice would be if you have got plans to make a special offer for Black Friday then open it up from Monday! If you haven’t, well I think it would be a great idea about now to start thinking about what sort of special offer you could make through your website or online store that you can actually make sure you can fulfil the orders on.

Don’t forget that following Black Friday is what has become known as Cyber Monday! So on the 30th of November it will be one of the busiest online shopping days of the year. When you are considering getting your Black Friday started early then you also need to think that you might well need to finish your end of year offers a little later to ensure that you are targeting the right audience and you give everyone a chance to get their wallets out, also remember that it is the last payday with any opportunity to purchase online, December normally means people get paid early but they don’t normally get the cash before Christmas Eve.

Good luck and happy Shopping!

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