Royal Mail Advises Small Businesses on Capitalising on Black Friday
New research from Royal Mail, released today reveals that UK SMEs are under-prepared for Black Friday (27 November 2015) – the one-day promotional sales event which originates from the United States and is now the start of Christmas shopping season in the UK.
In 2014, consumers spent £810 million online on Black Friday (according to IMRG) and Royal Mail research has found that 60 per cent of consumers are already preparing to shop online for this year's event, meaning the UK's 4.9 million SMEs could take advantage of this major shopping bonanza. However, new research has revealed that British businesses are not applying all the lessons learnt from last year's event, and three quarters of small businesses will miss out because they are not planning on taking part.
Last year, the biggest challenges faced by SMEs on Black Friday were: coping with increased website traffic (48 per cent); managing stock (44 per cent); delivering their orders on time or quickly enough (33 per cent) and distributing orders from their warehouse (31 per cent).
In addition, less than a third (30%) of small businesses struggled to cope with customer enquiries about their orders.
While small business owners are preparing for an influx of web visitors (with 39 per cent arranging additional IT capacity) and improving the availability of products (with 55 per cent ordering more stock), nearly two thirds are not preparing for the distribution and delivery of customer orders
The scale of Black Friday is evident as it grows in popularity each year – Royal Mail found that the top ten UK online shopping hot spots during this key shopping period last year were Brighton, Basingstoke, Lincoln, Norwich, and Guildford.
Royal Mail is advising small and medium-sized business to work with their delivery provider to forecast volumes for Black Friday and the Christmas shopping period.
Roger Morris, Head of Royal Mail Parcels, gave his advice for small businesses:
"My advice to SMEs about Black Friday is really to start thinking about the planning today, and the planning in particular for the logistics and the delivery needs. You need to plan to have the item in stock, of course, and your website needs to work; but you need to be able to get it delivered. It's really about planning and trying to share the information with us so we can make sure we have the capacity in place to make sure that we can deliver your orders for your customers on time."