Prepare for the Black Friday storm
Is Black Friday still the hottest event on the retail calendar? Or will cash strapped consumers mixed with a dose of COVID anxiety keep shoppers away from physical stores this year?
For the etailers its likely business as usual and while they may be gearing for lower basket values to accommodate consumers tightening their belts, this may be tempered by a whole new base of shoppers that have recently discovered online shopping due to the pandemic.
We've seen online sales have rocketed in the US and UK with food and grocery shoppers moving online out of necessity. In South Africa we've seen a similar surge of smaller, savvy businesses, like Granadilla clothing, pivoting to hop on the food wagon as they launched Granadilla eats offering curated online food delivery. 60sixty, the Checkers food app, had to limit orders to 30 products per basket in order to cope with the increased consumer demand. We also saw new kid on the block, Bottles app partnering with Pick n Pay to offer its customers food when they no longer could deliver alcohol.
So one wonders if both big and smaller businesses have done enough to brace for the Black Friday storm.
Takealot is a case in point where in previous years, the sheer volume of consumers and orders brought the site down and delivery promises could not be met. Lost revenue and irate customers are not something that any business wants as a challenge, but its easier to recover if you are the big guy and can employ a floor full of developers and call center staff to manage the onslaught. Not so easy if you are the small guy and new kid on the block.
"Online shopping is not a trend, its becoming a way of life."
So my advice for small businesses and those brave enough to start the e-commerce journey is that this the time to work through your customer experience. This is the time to focus on the detail, work through the logistics, prepare after-sales capacity and get ready for the shoppers' storm.
We know consumers are cash strapped. But we also have seen that they are not rushing to the malls, offices remain empty, the roads have fewer cars and we know they will be searching for that unbelievable deal that Black Friday offers.
Don't delay the inevitable, get your business e-commerce enabled and be ready to confidently put up your 'open for business' sign.
Online shopping is not a trend, its becoming a way of life.
Opinion | Deirdre Ingpen is a co-founder of Nybble