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Customer experience sets outs the winners when it comes to Black Friday

Date: November 17, 2016

Category: Industry news

Author: Holly Porter

Watch Holly Porter, GS1 UK Chief Marketing Officer, explain why Black Friday is the ultimate test of customer experience

Customer experience is always top of mind with retailers. But with Black Friday just a few days away, most retailers are now in final preparation mode to manage the day’s demands. As customer loyalty is such a hard fought thing and yet so fragile – especially on peak events like Black Friday – it’s really important for retailers to still provide the same customer experience – and be consistent in service levels and also manage expectations.

In this new video, produced with One Connected Community, our own Chief Marketing Officer, Holly Porter, analyses how Black Friday is the ultimate test of customer experience. Over the years there have been notable winners and losers – reinforcing the fact that behind the scenes, logistics is the new battleground in retail.

Although retailers have been quick to offer many new fulfilment options – it’s important they remain practical. Not everyone who buys on Black Friday needs next day delivery, so it’s all about managing expectations and building in flexibility so that their service offering can remain profitable.

John Lewis have often been quoted as a particularly successful example. For them, Black Friday is a carefully orchestrated exercise that starts months in advance and involves departments and colleagues from across the organisation – and also key third party suppliers such as labour agencies and third party logistics companies. That detailed level of planning ensures that John Lewis can scale to meet the demands of peak and remain agile where necessary.

Of course GS1 standards have a vital role to play. They help retailers deal with massive spikes in customer demand, by enabling fast, accurate identification of products throughout the supply chain. And recently in apparel, we’re seeing far greater use of EPC RFID – to provide accurate product information and full visibility of stock. Ultimately it’s all about providing a better experience for the customer, through to delivery or collection.

Our top five tips for Black Friday in order to better engage customers and drive sales:

  1. Use different fulfilment options to spread the peak
  2. Ensure you’ve got complete end-to-end visibility of your products’ journey
  3. Understand the end-to-end cost-to-serve to ensure that your value proposition is profitable and sustainable
  4. Ensure merchandise and marketing teams work closely together with supply chain teams and third parties to share information – and provide a joined up experience for the customer
  5. Manage your product information, images and descriptions so that they are up-to-date and accurate to help maximise sales and keep returns to a minimum


Here is what OCC has to say about Black Friday 2016

Read OCC’s full 8-page Black Friday 2016 white paper

Read here what Gary Lynch, our CEO, said about how the retail industry deal with last year’s Black Friday