Editor’s view: The countdown to Christmas begins with Black Friday

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Remember, remember the 5th of November. Once upon a time this would be the first thing that popped into people’s minds when you mentioned November in the UK.

It’s a tradition other countries struggle to grasp, but one that we’ve embraced and turned into a magical night of bonfires, fireworks, fairground rides, sparklers and celebrations.

Meanwhile, stateside November is all about Thanksgiving – a holiday for Americans which is just as big, if not bigger than Christmas.
As the UK becomes ever more Americanised, it is no surprise that we have adopted some of the United States’ traditions. However, when it comes to November, instead of adopting America’s tradition of taking one day a year off to be with family and friends and give thanks, it’s the day after Thanksgiving we have decided to add to our calendar month. Yes, now November not only marks for us in the UK Guy Fawkes night, but it also marks Black Friday.

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While the first year didn’t go great for us – I think we can all recall seeing footage of people fighting in Asda over heavily discounted TVs – last year the dust seemed to settle. The customers were tamer and retailers were more prepared.

One noticeable change from 2014 to 2015 is that footfall was actually down over the Black Friday weekend as consumers favoured online shopping over heading to the high streets. According to Springboard, footfall in retail destinations across the UK dipped 9.6% year-on-year, while online traffic was up 12% YOY.

In preparation for an online Black Friday rush, digital agency Nublue recommends planning ahead. This could include at a minimum testing your site to get a clear idea of its speed and the volume of traffic it can handle, and at a maximum asking customers to pre-register sale interests by setting up a ‘sneak preview’ page.

Many retailers, including some of the UK’s biggest retail giants, have been caught out on Black Friday, which is why Nublue suggests preparing for traffic to soar, so you don’t have to deal with your online store crashing on one of the most important sales days of the year. For many consumers Black Friday will be the day they start their Christmas shopping and it could be the first time they visit your store.

However busy Black Friday is for you though, I hope its gives you a great boost in sales and confidence as you head into the festive shopping season.

Let the Christmas countdown begin…

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