People throw themselves on the floor, shielding their heads from the blows they expect to receive. Screams of terror and shouts of anger fill the air. The nearest movable object is grabbed to be used as a weapon if necessary. Fingers, toes and small children are trampled in the stampede. It is every man, woman and child for themselves as the chaos ensues.
No, I’m not talking about rioting in some poor, unfortunately war-torn middle Eastern country. It’s Black Friday this week. Our ‘gift’ of madness and mayhem from the USA.
Black Bull, I call it. Short for…. Well, I am sure you can hazard a guess. I mean, what a complete and utter load of nonsense. Adults (I was going to say grown-ups but that’s probably not apt) fighting over items that they probably don’t even actually need and charging around like bulls in a china shop.
Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s important for stores to create an emotional user experience so we can assess their customer behavior and discover how they think, reason and make buying choices. But letting them loose like a pack of wild, hungry animals is not the sort of emotive occurrence we user experience research consultants have in mind.
Seriously, the Yanks have a lot to answer for. First Amazon brought this nonsense to our door in 2010, then Asda followed suit, thanks to the fact that their parent company is the American giant, Walmart.
Though believe it or not, Asda have actually chosen not to lower themselves and take part in the farce that is black Friday anymore, so I know where I’ll be shopping at the end of the week if I am in desperate need of any groceries.
Of course, if you take part in the circus, you are bound to get upbeat customer comments from a consumer that bagged a genuine bargain.
However, the shopper who went home with a broken toe and bruised ribs after a run in with an aggressive little old lady who was determined to get her hands on the last ironing board may not have such positive user feedback to offer. And the team members who deal with customer feedback management will likely have their work cut out for them for weeks.
And this year could be worse than ever… despite the fact that people are reputedly tightening household budgets, the Brits are expected to go crazy and set a retail record. According to predictions they will splurge £2.6 billion (which also translates to £1.8 million per minute). That’s a whopping 8% increase on last year’s Black Friday sales. Though people are giving their fingers and toes a rest, as this spending will all be online.
There will still be people going wild in the aisles though. The high street is expected to see spend of a a mere £1.45 billion from 9.5 million shoppers.
It definitely isn’t a day that is ever going to rank highly in customer satisfaction surveys, especially due to the fact that retailers are starting to tap into the emotive elements of Black Friday and use fantastic discounts and offers to lure in unsuspecting consumers.
Unfortunately, the user experience is generally an extremely negative one because many products that have been advertised are not actually available. Did you know that stores are simply jumping on the madness band wagon in an attempt to clear surplus stock and make room for a load of new goodies for Christmas?
So, who wins in this farce, really?
No one, to be frank.
Customers are left disappointed when they can’t pick up the elusive bargain that they’d had their eye on.
The nightmare before Christmas
And it really is the nightmare before Christmas for retailers. Who on earth ever decided that 5 weeks before Christmas was the right time to offer massive percentage reductions?
It really is madness, particularly so close to the crucial shopping season which defines the retail world’s financial year. Christmas is the only time in the calendar when stores know, without a doubt, that customers will spend. And they will spend big if it means securing the right gift for their little princess or awkward Auntie Mabel.
So, shops screw themselves over and their customers at the same time. Because let’s face it, is it really wise to sully the end user experience by dramatically changing prices the week after a customer has spent their hard earned cash to buy something? Of course it isn’t.
Shoppers want to trust your prices and policies. That’s one of many elements that help to build loyalty and deliver customer satisfaction.
You don’t want to be just a one-time, Black Friday go to. You want people to come to you year round for a positive emotive user experience . And they want to know they will come away with all their limbs intact!
Here at the Monachie Project, we can help you achieve that. We mould our consumer behavior methodologies to deliver solutions that help create new ideas for your business. Which, in turn, will increase loyalty from your customers..
And if you do jump on the Black Friday bandwagon, at least try and keep it as sane as possible. Just recognise it for the marketing gimmick it really is, just not to the detriment of your consumers..