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Was this Black Friday the biggest ever?

In our third and final blog in our series exploring the unique nature of this year’s festive shopping season, we take a look at the sales figures from Black Friday. 

Earlier this year, we asked if this was really, as some people suggested may be the case, going to be the biggest Black Friday ever. Findings from Barclaycard, one of Britain’s biggest credit card providers, show that whilst there was a boom in online spending this year, retail sales on Black Friday ended up falling sharply. UK figures show that payments made in physical stores and online fell by more than a 10th when compared with Black Friday in 2019. This is not surprising considering the fact that companies were recording zero sales in many shops across England as a result of the lockdown.

However, retailers did record a spike in online sales. In fact, John Lewis announced that it would break all of its previous records for online spending, with online sales figures increasing by 35 percent when compared with Black Friday 2019. Nevertheless, although there was a surge in online sales for this edition of Black Friday, most Black Friday sales typically take place in physical shops, highlighting the adverse impact that the ongoing pandemic is having on struggling retailers.

These figures do not come as a surprise, as shown by a study we recently conducted into consumers shopping intentions and parcel delivery expectations as they prepare for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas. The research found that roughly 50 percent of UK shoppers were planning on doing most of their shopping online during this period – even before details of a second lockdown had been announced.

Additionally, the online nature of this Black Friday has put managed properties and retailers under a great amount of pressure, with people ordering more products online on this Black Friday than ever before. This can be seen with John Lewis announcing that it had already shipped 2.5 million products since it started offering Black Friday discounts on 20th November – up 67 percent from last year. As such, this puts a strain on retailers and managed properties, due to there being an increase in the number of deliveries that are currently being made.

Thankfully, there is an all-important solution that helps managed properties and retailers cope with the additional demands that are being placed on them, during this most unique of Christmas shopping seasons.

Intelligent Parcel Lockers

Automated, intelligent parcel lockers are an ideal solution for managed properties and retailers, as they can solve many logistical challenges. Parcel lockers remove a great deal of potential concern around personal deliveries, thanks to the simplification and flexibility they provide to retailers and their delivery partners. The easy-to-use interface allows customers to track their parcels and inform them of the arrival time, whilst pick-up only takes seconds and lockers are accessible 24/7.

By electing to offer locker collection as an option, managed properties and retailers remove the need for shoppers to consider their schedule when placing orders. Lockers can mitigate the requirements for internal post distribution and logistics, as recipients can pick up parcels at a centralised location at convenient times, massively reducing disruption throughout the day. This is a key benefit at a time where people’s schedules are more unpredictable than ever before.

The reduced contact nature of lockers has risen to prominence too. Using lockers means that delivery partners or retailers reduce the need for person-to-person ‘last mile’ delivery, meaning that customers are able to adhere to social distancing measures.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how Quadient can help you to tackle the demands that peak season events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday place on your postal processes, click here to find out more details on intelligent parcel lockers. You can also read a recent white paper looking at the retail industry issues that are creating a need for mail management solutions like parcel lockers.

Additionally, here to view an infographic that details the findings of a survey Quadient conducting into investigating the shopping behaviours and parcel delivery expectations of consumers.