Black Friday Logistics – how to win on 25 November 2016

The most Googled term relating to Black Friday this year is ‘Black Fridayblack friday logistics UK 2016 date’. From a shaky start in 2010 (when only Amazon ‘did’ Black Friday deals) to 2014’s rocky road of complaints about late delivery and poor logistics management, through to the £3.3 billion that Experian says Brits spent online during Black Friday 2015, it’s been a short, steep learning curve for the UK’s retailers and the logistics companies that support them.

At we’ve watched this new shopping trend with a specific perspective – that of logistics and supply chain management and we’ve compiled a guide to successful management of the Black Friday experience.


Top Tips for Black Friday retailing success

  1. Contingency is King on Black Friday – the companies that manage best are the ones that have tested back-up systems in place. They have a plan B for when their website goes down through overload, they have spoken to their warehousing team about increased demand and ensured they’ve got stand-by staff ready to roll and they’ve factored weather into their planning, so that even if Britain is hit by blizzards, they can fulfil orders within the time they’ve specified.

  1. Bricks and mortar retailers do best by slipstreaming the big Black Friday deal-makers – the big ticket items are always electronics so those retailers get hit hard, fast and early. Trying to win away their custom is probably a waste of time. Our warehousing and distribution team have seen canny retailers start their sale to coincide with the fade out of the big chain offers – 3pm seems to be a great time to open your sales promotion, as people have done the early morning electronics frenzy, grabbed some lunch and are ready to buy again. This might mean considering your warehousing operations and ensuring you have space close to hand with a team ready to work through the night on order fulfilment or home delivery.

  1. Third party logistics providers cut the cost (and the headaches!) – 3PLs allow you to handle increased inventory at peak times without capital investment in your own warehousing storage. Whether you need a complete supply chain solution or just some pallet space that is conveniently located for your retail premises, working with a 3PL can cut through the confusion and give you peace of mind on a key selling date.

  1. Take care with Black Friday ads – it’s so tempting to over-promise, isn’t it? But if the logistics industry learned anything from the tidal wave of complaints following Black Friday 2014, it was that much clearer communication along supply lines, along with complete clarity about delivery times, was key to avoiding the dissatisfaction of UK shoppers.

Finally, remember to take care of your employees – it’s easy for them to be overwhelmed by the Black Friday crowds, by endless customer service calls seeking clarity on popular items or just by the sheer length of the day. Making sure everybody gets a break, having some healthy juices and easy to eat snacks in backrooms for people to enjoy and congratulating them on their contribution at the end of the day will go a long way to making Black Friday a happy experience for your team.



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