Be Brave: Boycott Black Friday
The traditional ‘Boxing Day’ sales that once dominated the high street have well and truly been outshone by Black Friday in recent years, but has it now had its day?
The key difference that sets Black Friday apart from other discounting windows is that it seems to have breached the confines of retail, and brought everything from the service industry to hospitality along for the ride – a phenomenon that could do more damage than good for these businesses.
Sure, everyone enjoys getting a good deal on a purchase, but not at the expense of customer experience (CX). 52% of 1,000 people surveyed recently said they would happily pay more for better service – in fact, one in four customers said they would pay 10% more across all industries if they knew they would receive excellent service.
Discounting makes sense when there is a genuine reason – end of line, or out of season stock, last minute holidays that need to be sold etc. But blanket discounting, especially on services or experiences, in a short window, could lead to a CX disaster and reputational damage for your business.
So here are my 6 reasons to boycott Black Friday and instead focus on great CX:
- Sales psychology – ‘buy this amazing product at a discounted price for today only’. Customers are becoming wary of businesses that discount in this way. Research by Which? showed an astonishing 99.5% of products to be the same price or cheaper than Black Friday at other points in the year. If customers no longer trust what a company is telling them, it’s a sure-fire way to lose their loyalty.
- Timing – Customers value doing things on their terms more than ever. In the 24/7 world that we now live in, funneling customers into making purchases at times dictated by businesses is not providing good CX. A competitor offering excellent year-round CX may have secured all your potential sales before Black Friday even arrives.
- Disruption and delays – an influx of business is what all business owners dream of, but if you’re not prepared for it, it can be a poisoned chalice. Slow websites, longer dispatch or delivery times, a less personalised service and poor execution can all result in bad experience.
- Stressed staff – employees across retail and other industries describe the Black Friday period as ‘hell’, with reports of abuse by shoppers and ‘vile’ working conditions. It goes without saying that the experience of your staff should be as important as that of your customers as stressed staff can’t deliver great CX.
- De-valuing the brand – consumers assume that even at discounted prices, the business is still making a profit, therefore believing your regular price is stretching the true value and may not purchase at full price in the future.
- Reputational damage – it only takes one small thing to go wrong during a busy period (point 3) - when your staff aren’t able to perform at their best (point 4), or your customers are not enjoying a good experience (points 1 & 2) - to cause a huge reputational impact and lose a customer forever. When, if the same issue happened during a ‘normal business’ day, the handling and outcome would likely be very different.
So, my parting words of wisdom; think before you discount. Will your customers actually value it? Can you maintain great CX? Will it detract from your brand? And finally, is it worth it?
In my experience, the best way to improve your bottom line consistently is to carefully map your customer journey and deliver the best CX day in, day out.
Jonathan Winchester is a customer experience entrepreneur, speaker and business leader. He is the Founder and Chief Executive of insight6. For more information on how to improve your customer experience, visit www.insight6.com. Request to connect with Jonathan on LinkedIn.