When consumers think of Black Friday, they think of deals, discounts and chaos but what most people don’t think of is the coordinated efforts within the retailers to make the whole thing run as smoothly as possible.
When US discounting event Black Friday hit the UK in November 2014, many supply chains struggled to cope. Some of the most famous brands struggled to meet orders – Argos, ASOS, Curry’s PC World amongst others – with some customers waiting up to 10 days to receive their items.
What can retailers do to prevent Black Friday chaos?
In the run up to 2017’s busiest shopping weekend of the year, only one in three retailers were feeling optimistic, falling to only 19% amongst the senior decision makers. Black Friday has even been described as the “make-or-break for many retailers”.
It’s no wonder that so many people were concerned – Black Friday takes a lot of planning. To combat the chaos, retailers have increased their number of delivery contracts and use previous data to forecast customer demand. An extra 6,800 Royal Mail vans were expected to be on the road to deal with the influx of orders this year . Royal Mail’s parcels Managing Director stated that “if businesses are well prepared for Black Friday and Christmas, they can reap the benefits of a busy but fruitful festive season”. But is it that simple?
It’s important that retailers have enough vans and delivery drivers available to drop items off all across the country but what about having the items available in the first place? The key with any preparation is to be pro-active – start planning well in advance. And this means by starting at the beginning, with the sourcing supply chain.
Black Friday and the Sourcing Supply Chain
In an industry where customer demand can be (almost always) successfully predicted, it’s possible to start planning and manufacturing early. "We're so big we can go and work with manufacturers a year ahead and work to make products that are better value by streamlining processes” says Dixons Carphone Chief Executive Seb James. Creating an efficient end-to-end supply chain means that shelves are stocked and more products can be sold by the time Black Friday comes around – keeping both the consumers and the retailer happy.
The only way to prevent crashes and chaos on Black Friday, is to be prepared.