With less than four days to go for major retail brands as well as niche players, preparation is key. From negotiating deals with suppliers to ensuring delivery logistics run smoothly, PriceCheck’s CEO, Kevin Tucker and Justin Drennan, CEO of Parcelninja, provide some key elements that retailers should be thinking about.
Black Friday is fast approaching, and South Africa’s online retailers should be preparing to harness the opportunities presented by retail’s most famous day. Falling on 25 November this year, Black Friday marks the beginning of the festive shopping season and sees retailers offering major deals and discounts across various product categories. Although it is an American tradition, Black Friday fever has certainly caught on in South Africa and local e-tailers – both established brands and small, niche players – have a golden moment to showcase the benefits of e-commerce through offering great deals and seamless delivery.
Win loyal customers for life with proper preparation
“By offering attractive deals and discounts on the day, SA’s online retailers can generate that all-important brand awareness and win loyal customers for life,” says Kevin Tucker, founder of leading product discovery and comparison service, PriceCheck. “It is difficult, however, on such a high-profile day to break through the noise and the clutter – so the right preparation is critical to success.”
Such preparation should include negotiating deals with suppliers and distributors ahead of time so that the deals can be properly marketed and consumers are aware of what’s on offer. Brands should also invest in digital marketing tools, advanced website functionality and content marketing (blogs, social media, etc).
The PriceCheck platform will also be offering brands – of all sizes and across sectors – a place to showcase their Black Friday deals. Over 100 Black Friday deals will be listed, and in some cases, consumers can purchase directly from the site.
“By giving South Africa’s online retailers a central and well-loved digital ‘shopfront’ on which to boost their Black Friday deals, we are essentially enabling brands to market themselves at minimal cost,” adds Tucker. “So PriceCheck is in effect ‘democratising’ the (notoriously expensive) process of winning customers – and allowing brands of all sizes to compete on an even playing field this upcoming Black Friday.”
Taking care of the biggest headache – logistics and delivery
Fortunately for local e-tailers, and specifically for the small niche players, this leveling of the playing field is extending beyond the marketing and digital sphere. One of the traditional bugbears for SA’s online merchants is the efficient fulfilment of logistics and delivery – a challenge that will be magnified (and multiplied) with the Black Friday shopping bonanza.
“Based on last year, we are expecting sales numbers and order volumes to multiply by 15 this Black Friday,” says Justin Drennan, CEO of Parcelninja, a specialist warehouse and logistics company that serves e-commerce businesses including Superbalist, Grabit, DCStore, Juniva, Action Gear and Kids Emporium. “Local brands and e-tailers need to ensure that they are prepared, and have partnered with distributors and service providers (such as couriers) who are able to manage a huge spike in demand on the day.”
According to Drennan, this might well require additional investment in new technology, infrastructure, systems and even people. By failing to have the right resources in place, brands might not be able to deliver Black Friday orders in a timely and efficient manner – which can result in irreparable brand damage.
“We are finding that the major retailers, in particular, are not efficiently delivering online orders to individual customers, as they are geared for bulk orders,” he adds. “On the other hand, smaller e-tailers with fewer resources are often not paying attention to the last mile [delivery]…and how the product actually finds its way to the right person on time. This is where technology, such as the cloud-based Parcelninja offering, can enable brands and merchants of all sizes to enhance their customer service and door to door delivery – and leverage the growing interest in local e-commerce.”