Black Friday unprofitable, retailers unprepared

Two pieces of research have come out today pointing to problems coming in the festive discounting and sales bonanzas. One third of major retailers say that Black Friday is unprofitable, while sizeable numbers are not prepared for the season as a whole.

The first piece of research, published by The Omni Channel Journey, suggests that one third of major retailers think that the fire sales of Black Friday are unprofitable and is something that many businesses would rather avoid. With the US tradition just hitting UK shores, this could be a sign that it may not bed in as a tradition.

While the reports suggests that “retailers with an established omni-channel capability are poised to capitalise on the huge sales potential presented by Black Friday”, it also says that those unprepared for the season could be tarred with a poor reputation and damage their future sales.

The numbers unprepared have been shown in another piece of research by Temando that among micro, small and midsized e-tailers:

77% weren’t well prepared to offer customers multiple shipping options during the checkout process on their websites,

76% weren’t well prepared to handle potential shipping delays

75% weren’t well prepared to handle their return processes

79% weren’t well prepared in terms of back-end logistics such as pick and pack, labelling, documentation and transfer to carriers.

The reports suggested, “This suggests UK retailers will battle to meet heightened customer expectations when eCommerce volumes boom over the Christmas period.” Returning to industry thinking that one in two customers will not shop with a company again with whom they have had a poor experience, this could irrevocably damage a business’s future outlook. Preparedness for this season could make or break a business, both in terms of revenues and reputation. Proper preparation prevents poor results.