Should smaller UK sellers be taking part in Black Friday?

By Chris Dawson October 2, 2015 - 9:50 am

David Grimes_MyParcelDeliveryDavid Grimes is managing director of My Parcel Delivery, a parcel delivery comparison website, which enables sellers to choose the cheapest or most convenient option from a range of carriers. If you send more than 10 parcels a week, you can open a business account for access to more courier services, a rapid booking tool to speed up the process of booking multiple orders and dedicated account support.

Today David asks the question “Should smaller UK sellers be taking part in Black Friday?”. Here are some of his thoughts and you can join David in Tamebay’s first ever live Webinar at 12.00 the coming Monday 5th October when he’ll share his “5 Top Tips for Tamebay readers to get ready for Black Friday“.

Should smaller UK sellers be taking part in Black Friday?

Black FridayIt looks like Black Friday is well and truly here to stay in the retail world. Despite being an American post-Thanksgiving tradition, Brits have adopted it with relish within just a few years, and are now expecting bargains galore on November 27.

However, as we all know, Black Friday has been a logistical nightmare over the last few years, putting a massive strain on every part of supply chains and delivery services. In fact, 2014 will go down in retail ecommerce history with the collapse of City Link and Yodel stopping collections after Black Friday outperformed all industry predictions.

Black Friday – and even other traditional sales periods – can be difficult for eBay or other marketplace sellers. Sellers are not huge corporations with extensive logistics networks in place and large warehousing facilities – so should they even take part in Black Friday sales? Let’s sum up the pros and cons.

Getting on board with Black Friday is definitely a good idea if your business has ambitions to grow. Taking part in the traditional sales periods means your company looks like a larger operation to customers and other competitors.

In addition to this, it could potentially take off some of the seasonal pressure around Christmas spending by pushing sales earlier to begin in November.

Large retailers use Black Friday to clear their stockrooms of the past season’s stock at discounted prices, so this tactic can be massively useful even for a very small seller. Whether you have a garage full of boxes or a small warehousing unit, take a good look at whether you could slash prices in the November flash sale and clear some space out ready for next year’s stock.

In terms of reasons against taking part in Black Friday, there is of course the logistics side of dealing with a one-day flash sale to bear in mind. It can be hard for a small seller to deal with this if they have minimal manpower as you may have to bring in extra help for just a week and then again at Christmas.

If you do have your own website, you will need to check with your IT provider to ensure your server can cope with the extra demand as well as perhaps creating a landing page to direct bargain-hunting customers to the products they’re after.

If your business sells purely on eBay or Amazon, then you have thousands of other sellers to compete with in terms of getting visibility, which obviously brings its own challenges.

No independent seller is going to want to sell stock as a loss leader as the supermarkets do, for example. However, even discounts of 10-15% can pull in buyers and can help regular customers make a snap decision to grab a bargain.

Ultimately, we think that Black Friday is a permanent fixture in the calendar, so sellers may as well hop on board, otherwise they stand to lose out on the biggest sales day of the year. A massive percentage of the population are ready, waiting to buy a bargain on November 27, so as an ecommerce seller, why wouldn’t you take advantage of that?

  • Lee Pearce
    6 years ago

    As a retailer, B&M and online, to me it does not make sense to drop your prices on the last payday before Christmas, however its now in the national psyche, along with premium free next day delivery if you order by 9pm and all year round sales.

    Whilst there will be offloading of old stock, major retailers are now much better at the supply chain, like M&S who are closing some of their Outlet stores because they do not need them now and you find that most of the Black Friday Deals are well planned and the stock is just purchased for Black Friday to create the hype.


  • John S
    6 years ago

    As the UK doesn’t have the Thanksgiving day constarint maybe smaller UK businesses should steal the thunder and hold a blue Thursday flash sale (later to be known as Purple Wednesday etc etc).

    Although, have a suspicion that Black Friday is a global government conspiracy to measure evolution of the human race, how far back it is heading to animal and eventually amoeba levels (and test national defence response in the event of a food shortgae).

    • Rai
      6 years ago

      Could you explain your thought process regarding the second paragraph?

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