Why should business plan for Black Friday now?

Britain’s businesses are being advised to up their preparation for this year’s Black Friday after research revealed they are unlikely to be ready in time.


According to Royal Mail, small and medium sized enterprises in the UK are failing to apply lessons learned from last year’s event into their current preparations – meaning that while 95% of them are already thinking ahead to the day very few are actually ready for it.


Capitalising on opportunities


Speaking about their findings, a spokesman for the firm said that SMEs have made vital preparations in some parts of their business but failed to adequately equip themselves for the influx of deliveries.


“Small business owners are preparing for an influx of web visitors […] bringing in more staff to prepare orders […] and improving the availability of products [… but] nearly two thirds are not preparing for the delivery of customer orders,” they explained.


“Only 38% of SMEs have extended their ‘delivery window’ to allow more time to get deliveries to consumers and just 36% are working with their delivery provider to forecast volumes.”


Ultimately, this means that many of Britain’s 4.9 million SMEs could be putting themselves at risk of falling short on their delivery promises at this pivotal time.


Not only will this undermine customer satisfaction over Black Friday but it could also affect a company’s reputation and sales figures with some disgruntled customers potentially taking their business elsewhere or seeking refunds or compensation for late deliveries.


This would be mean lower profits for businesses while the damage to brand reputation could cause long-term damage and even lead to business recovery measures if finances were to tumble too far.


Heeding advice


By issuing their statement, Royal Mail hope that they can prompt SMEs to take action now and increase their preparation efforts before it’s too late.


They advised all businesses to “work with their delivery provider” to make accurate forecasts for delivery volumes on both Black Friday and the Christmas period when sales are bound to grow.


Last year, Black Friday saw customers spend a massive £810 million online and 60% of Britain’s shoppers are already planning to splash the cash at this year’s event – taking place on 27 November.


While 55% of SMEs are placing orders for more stock, 40% are increasing their headcount and 39% are boosting their IT capacity it seems that the basics of delivery management are being forgotten and this must be addressed if the season is to be as lucrative as it can be.


By Phil Smith

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