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CTO Insight | Black Friday – the transition from on-site to online

Animesh Chowdhury, Goodtill co-founder and CTO, discusses the impact that an online-only Black Friday may have for retailers.

Despite this year’s Black Friday event falling in the middle of the UK’s second lockdown, customers still expect great deals. Though non-essential shops themselves are closed, the government’s recent announcement made clear provisions for online ordering – including delivery as well as click and collect. During such a crucial period for retail, delivering a seamless shopping experience and top quality customer service has never been more important as retailers compete to provide the ultimate online experience for shoppers.

The importance of this year’s event cannot be understated

Online retailers are expecting a 45% boost in sales as we enter the Christmas period – but while e-commerce has gained a huge amount of momentum in recent years, some retailers still only have a limited online presence, or don’t have one at all.

Technology providers should be directly helping their customers transition into an online environment this year.

It might seem daunting, but the move can actually be quite frictionless and low cost. With the right technology, many merchants will still see the typical sales boost this year that Black Friday brings.

By Introducing a modern Point of Sale (POS) system that leverages stock management, reporting and business analytic functionality, retailers can seamlessly transition away from the high street into an online platform without compromising sales. A seemingly small adjustment to strategy, such as adding e-commerce functionality to your website through a plugin such as Woocomerce, can open up a whole new online world for retailers that don’t yet have a comprehensive e-commerce platform.

It’s also critical that merchants prepare for increased orders appropriately – ensuring that they can successfully fulfil online orders. This doesn’t only mean preparing high stock levels, but having the processes in place to enable seamless delivery and collection for high volumes of traffic. With the pandemic – and the health concerns that have come with it – still firmly in focus, customer experience and peace of mind is a top priority right now.

For a great experience, customers need options that allow them to receive orders in the most convenient manner, whether from direct delivery, in-store pick up or click and collect.

The most successful businesses will create customer loyalty off the back of a seamless shopping experience that helps shoppers feel safe and comfortable. For those without a strong e-commerce platform, it’s a case of acting now, or risk being left behind as the industry becomes permanently online-first.