Retailers must capitalise on Christmas shopping bonanza to stay ahead of competitors, says Crimson & Co



In the countdown to Christmas retailers should be prepared to use industry trends, as well as marketing and pricing strategies in order to stay ahead of competitors, according to Nick Miller, head of FMCG at global supply chain consultancy Crimson & Co. On 28 November, the UK will see the return of Black Friday where British shoppers are expected to spend approximately £1m every three minutes as they compete for heavily discounted items.

This shopping bonanza, while fairly new to the UK, has been joined by Cyber Monday, taking place on Monday 1st December, and is fast becoming the biggest pre-Christmas shopping day with sales in the US reaching $2.29bn USD last year.

With stores and websites already pre-listing items in what is expected to be the busiest and most successful Black Friday and CyberMonday yet, retailers are understandably clamouring for a slice of the action. Miller suggests that while this is understandable, the more savvy retailers will make use of this momentum to drive future sales opportunities:

“In the UK the biggest in-store shopping day is traditionally the Saturday before Christmas, with the biggest for online being Boxing Day when the sales start. This all changed with the emergence of Black Friday, a US retail phenomenon brought to the UK five years ago by some US-based retailers.

“Black Friday, along with Cyber Monday, transformed the entire Christmas shopping experience and as a result of this, retailers have been forced to realign sales, marketing and supply chain strategies in order to capture consumer demand. Amazon led the way in the early years for this, but now we are really starting to see massive strides being made as more and more retailers get on board.

“Retailers should be looking to make use of this momentum and drive future sales opportunities. More savvy retailers should be analysing industry data to identify and exploit future trends in their favour. The rise of online and mobile shopping, combined with the recent growth of click & collect creates many different sales patterns and it is imperative that retailers capitalise on this to stay ahead of the competition.

“Mondays and weekends are seen to be the biggest shopping days for online and in-store shopping respectively. However, the growth in mobile shopping has seen the emergence of Thursday and Friday – in the future will retailers be capitalising on “Mobile Thursday?” It’s up to the retailers to make use of the data and assess the viability of this. Also, if momentum is gained from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, why stop here. In the US last year, Middle Cyber Monday (second Wednesday in December) was bigger than Cyber Monday (first Mondayin December).

“In the financial services sector, the calendar effect suggests that certain days, months or times of the year are subject to above-average price changes in market indexes, and can therefore represent a good or bad time to invest. This can be applied to the retail world and Christmas shopping – this could be as simple as looking at what day Christmas falls on and working back to introduce seasonal related offers and sales.”