Bad shopper experiences on Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year will deter shoppers in 2015, Blue Yonder predicts

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The research conducted by predictive analytics firm, Blue Yonder found that the 75% of people that took to the shops last Black Friday felt ‘the shops were too busy’, ‘there was not enough of a discount’, ‘it was traumatic and not worth the hassle’ or ‘products were out of stock’. The bad experience increases to 84% of Cyber Monday shoppers: Nearly half found the website was too slow or crashed, and more than one in 10 described their experience as traumatic or not worth the hassle.

The nationwide survey of 2000 shoppers also revealed that 20% of purchases were bought to be sold on, having a possible impact on the retailers’ ability to sell the product in future months at the usual price. In addition, the findings show that those set to brave the sales have been waiting on average two months and five days to make their big purchases, with 22% stating they have been waiting over three months and 7 % stating they have been waiting longer than seven months. This indicates there has also been an impact on sales across the year.

Interestingly, three quarters of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers admitted to having a strategy in place to bag the best bargains. Strategies include going to the shops in advance to work out where the product is located on the shelves (21%), working in a team to hunt down the items they want (17%), getting there as early as possible to queue (21%) and for Cyber Monday in particular, 40% of people check their internet connection to the retailer in advance.

The research also indicates that retailers will need a strategy in place to manage returns, and that the cost of the returns could damage income from the sales.  Almost a quarter of people that bought an item last year said that they either did not need it, wish they hadn’t bought it, felt guilty about it or returned it afterwards.

Markus Juhr-De Benedetti, chief revenue officer at Blue Yonder, said: “It is clear that a careful approach to Black Friday and Cyber Monday by retailers is needed. Bad experiences can put customers off brands, especially if they leave empty handed due to a product selling out too quickly or when experiencing website problems, and this is reflected in the fact that more shoppers will be avoiding Black Friday and Cyber Mondaythis year. We all remember the scenes from last year’s shops.  With individuals planning their purchases so far in advance, Black Friday and Cyber Monday can also impact sales over the rest of the year. Using predictive analytics, retailers strike the right balance between stock availability and profitability, ensuring it’s win-win for consumer and retailer.”

It is unsurprising then to see that even fewer people will get their shopping done on these two days this year. The reasons for this:

  • A third don’t like the queues and found the shops too busy
  • A quarter prefer to find other ways to get the best price
  • A fifth saw TV footage of bad behaviour from last year
  • A quarter feel there is either not enough of a discount or they can get a better deal in the January sales

Juhr-De Benedetti said: “Retailers need to use their data to ensure they have the right staffing levels on the floor at the right time to try and manage queuing times as much as possible. Retailers should also use data to set the right price. Price too high during the sales and your customers will feel disgruntled. Price too low and, as we’ve seen, people will impulse buy which leads to returns or strategically buy items to sell them on, damaging future sales. In the digital era, it is also possible to get the best price year round if you are willing to use the technology such as price comparison websites and voucher codes. In future, this power of technology to find a bargain, and the power of technology to dynamically price benefitting both retailer and consumer, may well detract from a big sales strategy, which can be harmful to brands for the rest of the year.”

The Blue Yonder research additionally found that, with Christmas starting to weigh on shoppers’ minds, only a small percentage of around 8% use Black Friday and Cyber Monday as part of their Christmas shopping plans. With their eyes on bagging bargains on bigger ticket items such as tablets or laptops shoppers continue to stick to their usual Christmas shopping habits and the last minute dash on Christmas Eve sees no signs of abating.