Seventy per cent of consumers won’t buy anything on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, our research shows.Data suggests that 89 per cent of consumers wouldn’t think negatively of a business that doesn’t run a flash sale – and 67 per cent of UK consumers wouldn’t sign up for a brand’s loyalty scheme if it meant securing an extra discount on a Black Friday/Cyber Monday purchase. What does this mean? Small businesses shouldn’t just blindly follow others in running a two-day flash sale. With UK consumers predicted to spend in excess of £1bn on Black Friday – which falls on November 27 – it’s easy to see why retailers are keen to capitalise on this. Yet the reality is that running a pre-Christmas flash sale just because everybody else is could do your business more harm than good. Indeed, our research shows that 70 per cent of UK consumers are not planning to make a purchase on either of these two days. We conducted research that asked more than 2,250 people what they thought of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday phenomena, and it’s clear that many could do without the hassle. More than two-thirds of consumers who took part in the survey also confirmed that they wouldn’t sign up for a loyalty scheme just to get their hands on extra Black Friday/Cyber Monday discounts. It goes to show that while loyalty schemes can be hugely successful for businesses, they shouldn’t necessarily use the Black Friday sales to swell membership numbers. Last year, the media highlighted numerous examples of public disorder as shoppers fought over discounted goods. Police forces across the country have now warned store owners that they must have stringent security measures in place if they plan to run a similar sale in 2015. In addition to this, the logistics of launching a one-off sale can be too much for many smaller retailers to handle. Royal Mail recently reported that almost half of SMEs admitted that they struggled to cope with a spike in website traffic during Black Friday 2014. Although flash sales can prove to be profitable for a lot of businesses at this time of year, companies shouldn’t just run them for the sake of it. It’s crucial that smaller businesses have a clear strategy in place before they commit to a Black Friday or Cyber Monday campaign. Naturally, if your competitors are doing something, you’ll feel compelled to follow suit, but our research shows that these popular sales days aren’t the be all and end all for retailers. If you attempt to run a big sale, but haven’t got the necessary infrastructure in place to deal with increased web traffic and a spike in deliveries/returns, you could end up doing your reputation more harm than good. Ronnie Hart is managing director of Simply Plastic Cards, part of the Nitecrest group of companies.
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