Stormy days ahead – Black Friday and Cyber Week

  • Gabriela Marinova
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  • Nov 21, 2019
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Winter is coming! For all of us, this means warm clothes, hot chocolate, lights, snow and presents (ah, the holiday spirit!). For your business, it means – the busiest time of the year. There might not be snow (yet), but stormy days are coming ahead – Black Friday and Cyber Week. People are ready to spend lots of money on some really good deals. 

How did it all start?
Black Friday originated in the USA. It is the day after Thanksgiving when the Christmas shopping season for Americans begins. This has been the case since 1952. It’s the time when everyone starts searching for presents for their loved ones and themselves. People are really going crazy, especially when all the stores are offering nice deals for their customers. Everyone is hasting to get to the product they want. All items are being sold out really fast, so people are all in a big hurry.

The term Black Friday was used for the first time in Philadelphia in 1961. It is used to describe the traffic of cars and pedestrians on the day after Thanksgiving. On that day many retailers started opening their stores early in the morning. Some of them have even opened at midnight or on Thanksgiving night. This is the time of the year that businesses make huge profits. Retailers are preparing well in advance for that period of the year, and so are their customers. Retailers make sure their stores are filled with goods. Customers make sure their pockets are full. It’s all about the money; it’s all about the deals.

Black Friday Today
Nowadays, Black Friday is known as the day during which there are promotions in every store and on every retailer’s website. It is still the day after Thanksgiving, but retailers noticed that shopping continues the week after Thanksgiving as well. In order to encourage online shopping, Ellen Davis came up with the idea for Cyber Monday in 2005. Since its inception, Cyber Monday has grown to become a “second Black Friday”. That day was quickly becoming one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. According to Cyber Monday statistics and trends in 2017, the online sales on that day reached the record $6.59 billion.

The other side of Black Friday
Black Friday seems like the perfect day for both costumers and retailers. However, it’s not all cakes and ale. Everyone’s intentions are good, of course. People think about making their family and closest friends feeling happy and appreciated. When there are too many people going to one place, however, all these good intentions may turn into a really bad experience. Having people rushing into a store, trying to get to the perfect deal first, is always a dangerous game. There have been many reports of violence during Black Friday. According to Black Friday Death Count, there have been 12 deaths and 117 injured since 2006. 

If you don’t die or get injured on Black Friday (fingers crossed), still, you might get really annoyed with all the waiting and the big crowd around you. It might be too tiring and your “holiday spirit” might go down the drain. Spending the whole day, waiting in line, being pushed by people from each side; and when you finally get to where you want to be, the item you have been waiting and fighting for might be out of stock already. Isn’t that amazing? If this doesn’t boost your spirit, I don’t know what will.

How to avoid all this?
Fortunately, there is a way to avoid all of this. Wouldn’t it be nice? It’s cold outside; you are staying at home, sipping hot tea, having your foot wrapped around a nice, warm blanket. There are still people outside, waiting for some store’s doors to open, but not you, no! You are at home, doing some online shopping. All you need to do is click around with your mouse to pick the items you want. You still have a cart, but it’s a virtual cart. You can put as many things as you want in it. You can remove them and add them back again. It won’t run out of space. Most importantly, it won’t run into other carts.

Retailers have realized that online shopping is not only better for customers, but for them as well. A big percentage of customers has migrated online. This has led to brick-and-mortar stores being closed down. Bankruptcy is also among the reasons why stores have shut down. According to the UBS, retailers closed around 8,000 stores in 2017. In the same year the Sears in Ohio, which in 2011 was really famous among its customers, also closed its doors. Online shopping is spreading more and more. It is far more convenient to just stay home, looking around the website and ordering by using just one finger.

The final touch for a perfect shopping experience
There is one thing that might be missing with online shopping: human contact. Even though it is beneficial for customers to shop from their bench, they often are missing the help of the shop assistant. Not being able to ask questions and receive instant replies may even result in abandoning the order. Websites usually have different contact channels like phone, email and contact forms. However, customers prefer to receive answers to their questions as fast as possible and unfortunately, none of these channels can provide the desired speed.

With the phone, you may wait forever on the line, before the operator gets to your call, especially during these rush-hours/days. Email usually takes 48 hours and it might take even longer during Black Friday and Cyber Week. Same goes for the contact form. But there is one channel that everyone can benefit from and that is live chat. Having live chat on your website will not only help with the flow for emails and calls, but it will also boost your profit. With live chat, all the customers will have the opportunity to receive the information they need and continue their order. This reduces the number of abandoned shopping carts. A study by Barilliance showed a reducement in abandoned shopping carts of 78.65%. If you put your live chat at the checkout, profits will increase because this is a key position for a live chat window.

Be prepared for Black Friday and Cyber Week
This is a great way to prepare for the stormy days so that both you and your customers can benefit. They will still have the deals they want, you will still have them – alive and well. Not only will you provide them with the stock they want, with some great deals, but also with an amazing customer service experience. The percentage of abandoned carts drops rapidly when customers can receive the answers to their questions immediately. So, get your blanket, get your hot drink, sit back and enjoy Black Friday and Cyber Week.

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