We're 50 days away from this year's Black Friday, the first day of shopping following Thanksgiving that traditionally marks the beginning of the festive retail season in the United States, and has recently been exported to the UK, largely due to online retailers offering discounts.
A new study by global eCommerce consultancy Salmon has predicted that this year, Black Friday and the following week will be the tipping point for mobile in the UK, with mCommerce revenues overtaking desktop sales and totalling as much as £2.55bn.
Last year, Salmon accurately predicted that Black Friday would mark the UK's first ever £1bn online shopping day, and its forecasts for this year suggest that £5bn will be spent between 24 and 28 November.
With mobile playing such a crucial role in eCommerce, the firm warns retailers that they should safeguard their sites and systems ready for increased levels of traffic, rigorously testing to make sure they can cope.
In addition, they should ensure that mobile sites are fully optimised, and all departments from marketing to technical are aware of peak trading plans, working in concert to create one cohesive message that is consistent across online and offline channels.
"Black Friday is no longer about one single day, or week," said John Beechen, head of managed services at Salmon. "Now it is an opportunity to create an ongoing experience that can help grow a retailer's customer base and loyalty. Even those retailers who do not want to participate in Black Friday need to prepare themselves, as consumers will be in the mood to shop, so they are likely to see an increased update and conversion of sales even if they aren't offering deals and discounts."
“The fact that Salmon has predicted this year’s Black Friday as a tipping point for mobile sales demonstrates how customers are changing the way they shop," said Rupal Karia, managing director of retail and hospitality for UK and Ireland at Fujitsu. "Mobile is an increasingly prominent factor in a customer’s purchasing journey, and retailers must ensure that they are providing a fully multichannel offering so that come Black Friday, and the days surrounding it, customers can shop via which ever channel they wish.
"This will also help to spread the load of customers due to having more options, they won’t all be rushing to stores like in 2014, or heavily focused on online, the load will be more spread out and it should provide a much more pleasant and seamless shopping experience.
“Retailers need to look at how their different channels can work together to deliver a truly excellent customer experience. Only by putting consumers at the heart of the business, personalising the shopping experience and simplifying the buying process, can retailers hope to win the battle for consumers’ hearts – whether that’s in-store or online.”