Retailers have been urged to up the ante on Black Friday after two thirds of consumers said stores were “not prepared” last year.

Retailers have been urged to up their game on Black Friday after two thirds of consumers claimed stores were “not prepared” last year.

  • Two-thirds of shoppers say retailers were “not well prepared” for Black Friday demand
  • More than half of consumers believe retailers encouraged “bad behaviour” in stores
  • Hammerson boss Atkins urges retailers to learn lessons from last year

Research has found 65.2% of shoppers said they either agreed or strongly agreed that retailers “were not well prepared enough to cope with demand on Black Friday”.

And 57.1% of consumers believed retailers were “guilty of encouraging bad behaviour” on the day, according to a joint report by shopping centre landlord Hammerson and retail research and consulting firm Conlumino.

Fights broke out in stores across the UK as shoppers battled to get their hands on discounted goods.

Event is ‘here to stay’

More than half of all 2,000 consumers surveyed said they “saved a lot of money” on Black Friday, and Hammerson boss David Atkins said the promotional phenomenon is “here to stay.”

But he issued a warning to retailers to get their houses in order ahead of this year’s event. It comes a month after John Lewis online boss Mark Lewis told the Retail Week Supply Chain Summit that retailers risked “reputational damage” if they failed to learn lessons from last year.

Atkins told Retail Week: “Once you start a promotional activity like that, it is very difficult to remove it from the calendar. It obviously creates quite a logistics headache, but what I think we will see is a better planned Black Friday this year.

“It’s quite simple to have a ticketing or ordering system in-store”

David Atkins, Hammerson

“There are key learnings to be taken about availability of stock, gearing up to ensure that your website has the capacity to take the number of people browsing, plus simple things like if a retailer is selling discounted TVs, have a batter planned fulfilment method, don’t just have piles of them on the shop floor. Inevitably you will encourage people to literally fight over them.

“It’s quite simple to have a ticketing or ordering system in-store and collect your items later that day. Just making things a little bit more orderly is the likely next step.”

Atkins added: “Promotional activity is there to induce additional spending and create a bit of hype within the selling process. But I suspect the way in which consumers picked that up and got very excited did take some retailers by surprise.

“A new promotion such as that has the ability to create a lot of interest because it’s across the market rather than individual retailer-led, so the way it’s logistically run needs to be improved.”

Shopper tribes

The annual Hammerson/Conlumino report also found that “old habits” picked up by shoppers during the recession such as bargain hunting, trading down and cutting back on spending would persist even as the economy and consumer confidence improve.

It suggested that three “shopper tribes” had emerged in the UK – younger “channel surfing enthusiasts”, middle-aged “time-pressed value hunters” and “focused functional spenders” over the age of 55.

More than 70% of consumers in each “tribe” said price was important, while around a fifth of shoppers in each category said their purchasing decisions were now “promotion driven.”