Cyber weekend is over and the figures are in: A whopping £1.4 billion was spent online this year on Black Friday alone, up 11.7% on last year. However, people seemed reluctant to hit the shops as footfall figures for Black Friday were down 3.6%. So, what does this mean for retailers?
Ecommerce shows no signs of slowing as consumers still relish the idea of being able to shop around to find the best deals, especially when it comes to sales. And it seems that online well and truly won this year, with many retailers such as Missguided offering a four-day long sale ending on Cyber Monday. But was it just the discounts that were sending hoards of people online?
There is no doubt that retailers still need to invest in their customer experience, but the boom in online sales begs the question whether customers weren’t heading in store to bag their bargains because the customer experience during busy periods just isn’t good enough.
If retailers are to make the most of Black Friday, they need to make sure they are giving customers a reason to shop in store. They need to offer a truly omnichannel retailing experience by offering the same deals and the same quality of experience in store as online to lure consumers. And for those retailers still allowing their stores to compete with online, now is the time to make a change. Retailing in a customer’s eyes is channel-less and therefore the retailers should be seeing this the same way. The stores need to stop viewing the online channel as a threat, and work seamlessly alongside them to offer customers a unified experience, or risk losing them to another retailer.
An interesting twist to the Cyber weekend numbers was that after Black Friday itself, footfall improved during the rest of the weekend, but this is thought to be due to an increasing percentage of online shoppers opting to use Click and Collect as a fulfilment service.Click and Collect certainly drives shoppers to the store and 46 percent will buy more when they pick up an item, but retailers should be seizing this opportunity to up-sell and cross-sell by engaging the customer from the outset.
If there is one thing to take from this year’s sales, it is that they are very much here to stay and retailers must continue to invest and deliver an omnichannel experience if they are to succeed both online and instore throughout peak.