In the past few weeks we’ve been getting a lot of press releases and publicity contacts talking up Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But we don’t buy it.
Both are clearly relevant in the UK but we contest that neither are all that useful for ecommerce sellers. What we really need is an effort to stir up ecommerce closer to Christmas and extend that important seasonal shopping period and extend it closer to the 25th December rather than over-eggnog it in November.
Let’s boil down the bones of these ideas. Black Friday is a US import. It’s when US retailers typically broke even and moved in to the black, because after Thanksgiving (a venerable US holiday but not something we do here in Blighty), they did a discount event on the Friday after (US Thanksgiving is on the last Thursday in November) to get the Christmas season swinging.
We’ve seen that stateside, and to a lesser extent over here on this somewhat more reserved island, that this day has become something near hysterical for some consumers. But we don’t need it. And Cyber Monday is much the same. That’s just the Monday after Black Friday where, again, mighty marketing efforts kick in.
The media whip up a buying orgy on such days to report the frenzied activities of demented consumers as they lamp their fellow humans to something, anything, for a low, low price. And the retail marketing machines pitch in too. Yodel head honcho Dick Stead has been highly critical of the marketing putsch, not least because he just doesn’t think it’s honest to generate demand that couriers can’t simply deliver on
Let’s be clear. The bargains aren’t that easy to find on such days and whipping up a storm of shopping fully four weeks before Christmas is bizarre because it’s not needed. People know what they need to do. They’re shopping anyway here in the UK.
What we do need is an event to keep sellers selling right up until the last moment. Marketplace sellers often report that sales start to drop off around the 15th. With Christmas Day in 2015 on a Friday, it seems better that we have those online orders flooding in until the 21st with couriers and carriers fulfilling them as they promise right up until the big day deadline.
The last big hurrah for marketplace sellers should be Golden Sunday. The 20th. And all those parcels should make it by Christamas Eve. Every one. And then we can pass round the mince pies. Make it so.