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One of the biggest shopping events of the year is nearly upon us, with Black Friday 2020 falling this year on 27 November. In this blog post, we'll discuss how Black Friday has changed over the years and how your e-commerce business can prepare.

How has Black Friday changed over the years?

Where it came from

The day itself has an indeterminate past, but is often said to stem from America around the 1950s. It was used to describe people taking a sick day from work, the day after Thanksgiving.

People would utilise their “sick” day to hit the stores to get a head start on their Christmas shopping. From around 2010, the UK started to follow in the American tradition, and by 2014, Black Friday became the peak pre-Christmas online sales day.

Introducing Cyber Monday

After Black Friday comes Cyber Monday, which lands on 30 November this year. Cyber Monday is a more recent addition, first appearing in 2005 after it was coined by Ellen Davis and Scott Silverman from the National Retail Federation.

This shopping day arose out of research that showed 77% of online sales increased the Monday following Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday became a way for smaller companies to compete with larger chains. By using online platforms, businesses of any size could reach out to a wide audience.

The ongoing battle: Retail stores vs. online commerce

Black Friday was originally seen as a retail store day and Cyber Monday entirely for online deals. Nowadays they are not exclusive. In fact, countries and companies across the world have incorporated Cyber Monday into their sale calendars and there's now a shift towards the Black Friday weekend.

In-store footfall has decreased as a result of the on-off COVID-19 lockdowns but online purchasing has rocketed, with twice as many consumers being expected to shop online as opposed to in-store. 

Check out more statistics on how buying behaviour has changed since March 2020 via the button below.

View the stats

Not only that, the shift to online had already been happening. Black Friday might have originated as a predominantly online event but now 77% of transactions occur online rather than in-store.

So, if you're planning to take advantage of the shopping commotion this year, next year or any time in the near future, you need to be strengthening your e-commerce strategy. That includes:

  • Implementing a variety of clever tactics for your website
  • Making the most of personalisation to attract and retain customers
  • Ensuring your e-commerce platform can handle the increased web traffic
  • Offering an extended Black Friday sale event to potentially spread out the number of visitors to your website
  • Investing in the right technology

Using the right solution to prepare for the increase in demand

As a retailer, trying to capitalise on the benefits of the shopping frenzy means you must ensure your operating systems can cope with increased demand. Investing in scalable solutions, such as moving to the flexibility of the cloud for hosting and dynamically scaling up for an increase in transaction volume, can provide extra insurance for the busiest of periods.

Some solutions worth investing in are:

  • An e-commerce platform to allow your customers to seamlessly and easily browse your products/services
  • A PIM (Product Information Management) system to simplify your product data management process
  • A CMS (Content Management System) to ensure your digital shop window is optimised and showing your best products/services
  • A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to centralise your customer data, giving you a 360-degree view of their preferences and behaviours
  • An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system that's integrated with your e-commerce platform to ensure a smooth flow of data from the back offices to your front (and vice versa)

Where's the future heading for Black Friday?

Once, Black Friday was a one-day heavily discounted sales event for retailers. Now, it's an opportunity for any business who handles e-commerce to attract new customers, connect with their existing customers and give them all a reason for making a purchase.

Black Friday gives you plenty of chances to offer exclusive promotions and discounts, ultimately geared at increasing basket value

Want to ensure your business has everything it needs to survive in this increasingly digital world? Click the button below to check out our guide - it's filled with tips, tricks and the essential tools required for success.

Read the guide

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