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Does Black Friday sales cannibalise your festive season sales?

| Ivana | Partner Content

By Franita Bosman, MD & Founder, BD- Nav

The origins of Black Friday are shrouded in a tapestry of urban legends and economic lore. Some trace it back to 1950s Philadelphia, where law enforcement coined the term to describe the chaos of post-Thanksgiving shopping mayhem. Others point to a more somber reference — the 1869 financial crisis triggered by a gold market crash in the US.

For the retail sector, however, the narrative is more pragmatic. It's said that Black Friday was conceived as a strategic reset to clear out lingering, unsold inventory, paving the way for new holiday season merchandise. The goal was straightforward: turn the year's accumulated losses, figuratively noted in red ink, into a profit-making spree, recorded in black, fueled by the surge of shoppers on the day following Thanksgiving.

But does it grow profits?

Black Friday has cemented its place as a shopping phenomenon globally, offering consumers deep discounts and bargains that were once reserved for the festive season. For vendors and suppliers, the date is marked with both anticipation and a certain trepidation. While it presents a significant opportunity to boost sales volumes, there is a real concern that it can cannibalise the revenue traditionally generated during the holiday season.

Impact of Black Friday on Festive Season Sales and Stock Levels

From the outset, Black Friday arrives with a pressure wave for vendors and suppliers to offer competitive deals. While it's a chance to clear out inventory before year-end, the aggressive discounting often leads to a decrease in the perceived value of products. Consumers are trained to expect, and wait for, lower prices, which can diminish sales in the prelude to the Christmas period.

The result? A significant portion of potential December profits are moved up the calendar, not without a cost to the supplier's margins.

The impact on stock levels can be equally challenging. Black Friday demands that suppliers maintain high inventory levels to meet the spike in demand. This surge in sales, however, can lead to stock depletion, resulting in the inability to meet the continued demand throughout the festive season. If not managed meticulously, suppliers could find themselves with stock shortages come December, at a time when consumers are ready to spend on holiday shopping.

Furthermore, an immediate aftermath of Black Friday is the potential for overstocking. Suppliers must predict demand accurately; overestimation can leave them with excess stock that they might struggle to sell post-Black Friday, especially since consumers might have already exhausted their shopping budgets. This necessitates further discounts to clear out remaining stock, which can eat into the profits of the festive season.

Inventory mismanagement can also lead to a poor consumer experience. If stock runs out too quickly during Black Friday sales, it can result in backorders and delayed shipping, affecting customer satisfaction. Moreover, should these delays spill into the festive season, suppliers risk tarnishing their reputation during a crucial sales period.

How to Find Balance

For suppliers, it's about finding balance. The key lies in strategic inventory management and sophisticated demand forecasting. By leveraging data analytics, suppliers can predict buying patterns more accurately, manage production schedules, and mitigate the risk of stock issues. Additionally, offering exclusive products or bundles can differentiate the Black Friday offerings from the festive season, helping to maintain sales momentum into December.

In conclusion, while Black Friday presents an opportunity for increased sales, it also poses a threat to festive season revenues and presents significant inventory challenges. Vendors and suppliers need to be strategic and innovative in their approach to both events to ensure they capitalise on the Black Friday rush without compromising their festive season success. By doing so, they can turn what seems to be a cannibalistic event into a complementary sales peak.

What is readily available in the market to help?

BD-Nav’s D-Nav Toolkit stands out as a pivotal ally for suppliers. It delivers the critically necessary, retailer-aligned insights that management teams need to navigate the treacherous waters of promotional periods.

The D-Nav Toolkit goes beyond mere data collection; it offers a deep dive into actionable intelligence, ensuring that stock levels are meticulously calibrated and opportunities are maximised. With its advanced tracking, the toolkit provides a maintenance framework and preemptive alerts to potential risks like Master Data issues, ranging and stock related risks, therefor enabling precise stock analysis and interventions.

Coupled with the BD-NAV Forecast and Replenishment (F&R) service for urgent stock intervention, the toolkit's capabilities are proven shields against unforeseen threats. This strategic approach to stock management through D-NAV's insights has not only fortified businesses against risks but has also played a significant role in earning various global awards.

With this toolkit, suppliers gain the foresight to capitalise on the lucrative, yet demanding, promotional period, securing their place in a competitive landscape.

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