Black Friday – will it signal a much-needed boost for brick & mortar?

With data suggesting an increase in shopper numbers on the street by around 20% tomorrow, it’s the boost brick and mortar retailers will be hoping for. Since last year’s holiday season was in the middle of lockdown, nostalgia for proper holiday shopping, combined with the instant gratification provided by stores will be appealing. Retailers set up for omnichannel success will leverage their sites and apps to give real-time inventory updates, so that in-person shoppers avoid disappointment

Managing Black Friday demand this year is especially testing given the ongoing supply chain disruption we’re seeing. Retailers have wasted no time introducing discounts well ahead of the big retail weekend, and this has catered to consumers’ shopping excitement and more intentional approach to purchasing this year. But spreading discounts has also helped them to alleviate some of the supply chain stress around Black Friday weekend itself, meaning consumers will get to “save big” without experiencing as many big delays caused by the variety of ongoing supply chain disruptions.

In addition to an earlier promotion scheme, smart retailers will be those that gauge shoppers’ patience levels by asking when they need an item by (offering dates well past the holiday window) and will give the same seasonal discounts but with guaranteed delivery on a reasonable yet delayed timeline. The retailers that have been ahead of the distribution game will leverage this time to pilot delivery and shipping business acquisitions they’ve made to strategically overcome supply chain issues.

Mobile has been a leading holiday headline year over year with continued growth, and I expect this to remain a theme this Black Friday – but via much more app usage. Omnichannel paths to purchase lend themselves to smartphone-centric browsing and buying, and consumers have expressed more interest in retailer and brand apps as of late. Top retailers have begun incentivising more app utilization, so we should see some holiday-specific app-based promotions, products, and services.

 

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