MD of Webloyalty sounds the death knell for Black Friday

Ben Stirling, managing director, of Webloyalty, the provider of market-leading reward platforms, sounds the death knell for Black Friday: “Consumers should enjoy the Black Friday deals while they can because as it stands, the model is not sustainable for British retailers – particularly in a market that is worried about the Brexit impact.

“Shops are trying to make a profit on discounted items when their margins are already low. They are also driving consumers towards discounted items prior to Christmas, which should be their best period for sales. What is more, they have to contend with the logistical nightmare of so many deliveries in a short space of time and the inevitable returns when consumers grab quick deals they later regret.

“Is it any wonder that most retailers have acknowledged the holiday as increasingly unprofitable? Marks & Spencer CEO Steve Rowe even said: “I bet most retailers wish it was an American import that never arrived.”

“Discounting is a well utilised sales tactic for brands looking to drive purchases. However, when used en-masse by the entire industry, discounting can actually become harmful for retailers – with consumers always holding off, in hope of a better deal.

“We know from our insight that customers that are more engaged with a brand spend significantly more than people just hunting for the best flash-in-the-pan deal.

“Retailers would do better to invest in long-term loyalty programmes that encourage valuable behaviours than in these seasonal annual discount days. I predict it won’t be long before the industry at large abandons Black Friday.”