Interview: How vouchercloud is preparing for Black Friday 2017

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With Black Friday continuing to grow in popularity around the world, we’ll be speaking to publishers and advertisers to find out what impact the retail event has on their business and how they will be preparing for the big day this year.

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Our first interview is with Chris Johnson, Partnerships Director at vouchercloud. Enabling consumers to "live more and spend less" in 13 territories worldwide, Vouchercloud offers an expansive selection of voucher codes and online shopping deals, as well as instant access to offers on the move with the vouchercloud app.

How big of an event is Black Friday for your local market? What impact has the event had on your business in previous years?

Chris Johnson vouchercloudI remember the timeline of events as ‘Black Friday Fever’ made its way swiftly from US to UK shores. Black Friday 2014 saw unprecedented overcrowding, fighting and desperation across retail stores and supermarkets in the UK as shoppers hit the high street to fight it out for the best deals.

A similar event was anticipated for 2015, so much so that BBC Breakfast were filming live from inside the shutters of a PC World in London, expecting hundreds of shoppers to flood into the store once it opened. However, live on air as the shutters opened, two men casually wandered in and were pounced on by the BBC Breakfast team. Turns out one didn’t realise it was Black Friday and the other was buying a replacement router for his office before his employees turned up.

It became clear that Black Friday 2015 was dominated by online sales as shoppers deemed the high street brawling unnecessary. We saw a significant uplift in sales vs 2014 and this has continued to grow year-on-year, with 2017 set to not disappoint. Retailers have had to adjust operationally over recent years to cope with the increasing demand that Black Friday brings, and we’re typically now seeing a cyber ‘fortnight’.

Other markets have followed suit, with Brazil, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands seeing growing peaks over the Black Friday period. Potential is there for all to see as we’ve seen first-hand how sales volumes can quadruple.   

What plans do you have for Black Friday 2017?

Largely more of the same, albeit with some additional product developments. Brands want as much visibility, inclusions, triggered and targeted exposure as they can get their hands on in what is such a competitive environment. 

Our efforts go towards ensuring brands get the exposure they crave and that we service their ongoing KPIs. On a day like Black Friday and with over 1,200 brands that we work with, it’s quite the operation.

Which products do you expect to be the biggest sellers?

It’s hard to look away from the electricals and gaming sectors over this festive period. Competition for consoles is hotting up as the PS4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox Ones are all ramping up with price cuts and bundles. 

Plus, the connected home sector has rocketed so far this year - from Alexa to Google Home, Sonos to Hue lighting, ‘smart’ money (pun intended) would be on these product ranges as some of the year’s best sellers.

Will you also be participating in Cyber Monday?

It would be hard not to - and silly not to, being honest! Black Friday is fairly early this year in the November calendar and therefore I would expect to see increased traffic and sales volumes on Cyber Monday this year. The ‘cyber fortnight’ could well extend into late November as we hit national paydays.

What are your predictions for Black Friday/the Cyber weekend in your market overall?

Brazil shows possibly the largest spike in traffic and revenue across the Black Friday period compared to all the markets we operate in and we’d expect this to still grow considerably year-on-year. 

I’m also keen to see what the ‘Brexit effect’ will do for markets this year. The weaker pound, whilst not great for those living and operating the UK, is contributing to an increase in orders from outside of the UK as luxury and desired brands become more affordable – this may contribute to heightened growth spikes in the APAC region this year. 

In the UK, there’s no reason to suggest there won’t be another year of growth, especially with an increase in products and product demand. I think we’ll see other markets continue to grow.

However it is very competitive, and the high street is starting to fight back for a share in the Black Friday extravaganza. I would be pleasantly surprised to see the same levels of growth as we have in previous years for the market during Black Friday / Cyber Monday, but realistically a number of micro factors could slow growth this year.

When does the next November payday fall on Black Friday? 2018. That’s when balance will be restored in my opinion!