Here at TPP, we always like to stay on top of what’s going on in the world, particularly as it relates to our line of business. We’ve watched as the U.S. concept of Black Friday and Cyber Monday made its way to the UK and now we’re watching as people are starting to push back against it. Black Friday appears to be one of those terms that most people have heard, but few people really understand, at least not from the perspective of running a profitable business.
The History of Black Friday
Opinions vary about the history of the name but in practical terms the tradition started in the U.S., where it dates back at least to the early 20th century. By the end of the 19th century, Thanksgiving Day parades were starting to attract commercial sponsorship and began to be used as an integral part of expensive promotional campaigns (rather like major sporting events today). The day after Thanksgiving, therefore, became the date when retailers switched to their Christmas marketing campaigns. It’s unclear exactly when it started to become standard practice for retailers to offer special discounts on this date but the concept was certainly well established by the end of the 1930s. It was taken to a whole new level at the start of the 21st century with stores opening their sales earlier and earlier and offering even more outrageous deals, to the point where it has now become notoriously linked to shopping chaos, injury and even death. In spite of this, the idea has spread around the world, although it has received varying degrees of welcome.
Black Friday in the UK
Black Friday has really only been a feature of the UK landscape since about 2013, when U.S. giant Walmart introduced the concept in its UK-owned counterpart ASDA. In 2014 it became a huge retail event with many major retailers participating. It certainly succeeded in getting crowds to turn out and made plenty of attention-grabbing headlines, unfortunately many of them related to the fact that the police were forced to make several call outs to deal with unruly crowds of shoppers. Somewhat ironically ASDA pulled out of Black Friday 2015 and since then approaches to the event have been mixed. Some retailers still see it as being a key part of their pre-Christmas promotions, others have withdrawn from it completely, many have at least toned down their involvement. Black Friday 2016 seems to have been on a noticeably smaller scale with both retailers and shoppers starting to show signs of becoming tired of it.
What Does Black Friday Mean for Small Local Businesses
In the affluent market, which is the one on which TPP is focused, convenience and quality are generally valued far more highly than deep discounts, particularly if it takes significant effort to obtain those discounts. Trust and personal service count for much more than the opportunity to make massive savings. Testimonials and recommendations are far more meaningful than bargain buys. In short, therefore, successfully targeting the affluent market means addressing a whole different set of priorities in an appropriate way. Leaflet delivery in London reaches affluent customers in their own homes without intruding on them. Some of our customers use ad hoc leaflet delivery in London to promote special events and deals, while many use it all year round to build brand recognition and engage with customers. Either way, we strongly believe that effective use of leaflet delivery in London offers far more value than trying to entice affluent customers with Black Friday deals.