Covid-19 changed the shopping landscape in 2020 and as we head towards the end of the year festivities, retailers are scrambling to try and capitalize on what has traditionally been a money-making event – Black Friday week-end.
Run over the last week-end in November and incorporating Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this pre-festive season buying extravaganza is most popular in the USA but has, over the past few years, become a highlight in other countries including South Africa. According to a 2019 GeoPoll study, there was a 16% increase in reported Black Friday shopping between 2017 and 2019.
With retailers starved of significant sales in 2020, they are all hoping that the Black Friday promotion will be the lead-in to increased sales ahead of the festive season. However, the traditional rush to stores to be the first to pick up bargains will have to be curtailed given the social distancing still required. Retailers globally are now setting their sights on extending the Black Friday promotion to encompass the entire month of November and run through to Christmas.
More importantly there will be a shift to online trading rather than in-store shopping or, at best, a combination of the two with shoppers pre-selecting goods on-line to then either be delivered or picked up in-store. Given that South Africa, according to World Wide Worx’s Online Retail in South Africa 2019 study, showed that online spending as sitting at just 1.4% of total retail sales in 2018, experts predict that we can see a marked jump in on-line shopping.
Crucial to the success of the Black Friday promotion is the ability of retailers to effectively manage the shopping experience – from effectively marketing their offerings to ensuring a stress-free and seamless delivery of orders – whether for those ordering on-line and expecting on-time delivery services to those shopping safely in-store.
Whilst hopes are high that the Black Friday promotion will give what has been a dismal trading year a much-needed boost, with so many unemployed and those employed acutely cash-strapped, it is going to be a trying year for both retailer and consumer.
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