Let’s go back to the future… oops sorry no, 5 years ago (more or less)… another year, another company, another job, another home and another period. My current marketing team were talking about something “horrible” (imagine a suspenseful music…) the “Black Friday”!
I have to admit it scared me a little! I wondered if another stock market crash had happened (call my broker!) but it was not the case. Of course I did not dare to ask anyone what was that “Black Friday”. So, I pretended I knew what they were talking about. “Black Friday? Yes of course, sure, let’s do it.”
Now, I realized how pathetic this situation was (at least at this moment and hopefully the only person to judge me was, well me). I remember then when I went shopping, it was a Saturday (was it Black Saturday?); and while I was taking out my wallet, the salesperson told me that with the Black Friday promotions I’ve only to pay this amount (instead of a BIGGER one); I smiled ☺
So it means Black Friday lasted 3 days; Friday, Saturday and Sunday and now it’s even more, it starts 8-10 days before the official Black Friday date! Does not make real sense but shoppers are happy (and the stores too).
What’s the story behind Black Friday?
But do the Frenchies really know the history and origins of the Black Friday? I doubt that as I’ve just heard about it from an American colleague few days ago.
Black Friday is actually the day just after Thanksgiving (hum this is something we are not celebrating in France neither but it’s question of time I’m sure, we’ll talk about it within a couple of years). Americans celebrate Thanksgiving the last Thursday of November. Then, the following day (a Friday thus) the American wake up very early to go and do shopping benefiting from extra sales; that’s Black Friday (and by black we mean overcrowded as in the US when sales occur it’s the rush in the stores, even worse than when they released the new Star Wars, I let you imagine!)
What does it means in term of “supply chain management”?
How can the stores manage this? I mean, should we call it sales or discounts or promotions? How to consider it in the IT systems? Do they want to take it into account for next year as a special event? Or something normal that happens on regular basis at the same time each year? And how to fulfill customers’ expectations? They can go to the stores and buy something they will have right away; or they can choose to receive it later at the store or at home (or at the office); they can also surf on the net and buy things online to be delivered at home, at the stores or even somewhere else they may select. In the end, there are so many ways of shopping, and Black Friday increases those means.
Retailers need to adapt and to have a very good supply chain process to support customers’ behaviors to be sure they are happy. I have recently bought 3 articles online to be delivered at home. And to be honest, I was looking forward to receiving my parcel! I have been noticed that my order was sent (that’s good news) then I have learnt that 1 article will not be delivered and I’ll be paid back (ok ok), finally I received only 1 article out of the 3 (what???), I had to call the retailer who told me if it has not been delivered I’ll be paid back; ok but what about the said article??? They could not tell ☹
Promotion planning for Supply Chain
It’s important for retailers to avoid such situation if they want their customers to remain liable and to come back. It means they need to be able to trust their Supply Chain solution and for this period of Black Friday on a good promotion module! This will enable them to distinguish themselves from other retailers and even direct competitors. Indeed, they will know where to position the promotion, on which article, and at the right level of price. Find it easy? It depends on the process and the solution to support it.
This period of time (end of the year November-December-January) is very critical for retailers (and not only in consumer goods, but services too, they can propose 2 services for the price of 1, or they can offer one small service in the whole suite of services proposed…) but it also concerns manufacturers namely when they are providing goods for the retailers as it deals with their products to be sold to consumers, thus they need to consider the promotions in their sales forecasts.
Black Friday impacts the whole companies but it’s a good operation for everybody (customers, retailers, manufacturers). The result… last weekend (beginning of Black Friday period (strange to say that)) I’ve bought 2 pairs of jeans, 6 pairs of sport socks and a sweat shirt. But it’s not over and I may go back and shop again next weekend: my favorite retailer has invited me by text message, how can I refuse?! (Sorry have to go… see you later!)