Australian retailers are cashing in on post-Thanksgiving sales across the US, with one Australian business achieving its biggest day of trade to date thanks to the global phenomenon known as Black Friday.
Black Friday occurs the day after Thanksgiving in the United States but businesses across the globe are now jumping onboard thanks to the wonders of online retail and customers keen for a bargain.
This weekend is expected to snare retailers more than $US4 billion ($5.56 billion) in sales, according to TechCrunch, with 34% of sales occurring on mobile devices.
Because Black Friday was originally the domain of bricks-and-mortar retailers, today is also Cyber Monday – a day for online businesses to reward customers by slashing prices.
Melbourne business KeepCup is offering consumers a 40% discount storewide today, a much bigger sale in comparison to its usual 24% off for Cyber Monday.
Keepcup founder and chief executive Abigail Forsyth told SmartCompany Cyber Monday has in the past crashed the business’s website.
“For a little brand like us trying to crack the US market, we see it as less of a way to shift stock and more about how to get our brand out there,” Forsyth says.
“We see this as an advertising expense rather than some sort of inventory tactic. As our social media presence is global, it’s hard to restrict our offers to particular markets. We did it for the US market but then offered it everywhere as people go, ‘what about me?’”
“If it’s a good deal and a product they want, people will promote it through their own networks. We’ve never done a discount this big.”
Nicholas Egonidis, founder and chief executive of men’s underwear retailer DailyJocks, told SmartCompany this year’s Black Friday resulted in the biggest single day of sales in the three years he’s been running the online business.
“Our customer base is skewed towards US customers, so we always participate in the American sales period,” Egonidis says.
“Black Friday is definitely a key one. We were up 15% on last year [for Black Friday], but for the month of November we are up 60% on last year. We’ve got Cyber Monday as well tonight, so it’s definitely a big weekend for us. A lot of work this week to catch up with orders.”
Egonidis says it is important for online businesses to take part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales if they have American customers, as consumers simply expect them to.
“I could see our sales for November being quite slow for the start of the month, and then last week things started to ramp up with Thanksgiving and people sitting back to plan for Christmas,” he says.
“People really wait for these days.”
Egonidis says Black Friday has been a “great way” to move existing stock as well as get his business in front of new customers.
He says email marketing has been particularly helpful in letting consumers know about the sales ahead of time as well as on the day, especially for Australian customers who might not be aware of what Black Friday is.
Jane Lu, founder and chief executive of online retailer Showpo, agrees that Aussie retailers should jump onboard Black Friday.
Lu told SmartCompany this morning Showpo offered customers 40% off their second dress as part of the Black Friday sales.
While the former winner of Smart50’s Top Retailer Award hasn’t had a detailed look at the sales figures from the weekend just yet, Lu says judging by previous years this Black Friday has also been a success.
“If it’s a sale, you can’t go wrong,” she says.
“Just do it for the first time and then learn from that. We’re still learning ourselves – it’s different for every industry.”
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