6th Spectrum & Ardent eCommerce Leadership Dinner, November 2015

What Black Friday means for you…

Spectrum’s 6th eCommerce Leadership Dinner took place on 23rd November in London in association with Ardent Advisors, the corporate finance firm.

Perhaps it was the fast-approaching festive season that made this evening a particularly jovial affair – or, was it something to do with the excitement associated with the even closer ‘Black Friday’?

The discussion began by considering Asda’s announcement that it would not participate in Black Friday. The most notable discussion points were:

  • Black Friday is great (when viewed from a consumer perspective).
  • It is a US phenomenon that retailers adopted to provide a reliable forecast of year end sales: will you end up ‘in the black’ or ‘in the red’?
  • The US market is very different from the UK market: it is discount led, and couponing is widespread.
  • Black Friday is a post Thanksgiving holiday ritual in America which has been, somewhat unnaturally (as it is not a public holiday) adopted in the UK.
  • Black Friday applies to physical and online retailers, as opposed to the other big sale day ‘Cyber Monday’, which, as the name suggests, is an online phenomenon.
  • Black Friday has promotional value. Include it in a subject line, and the email will be opened.
  • Widespread retailer participation is likely, and this is partly driven by fear, as no one wants to announce below par results after Christmas.
  • Black Friday resonates particularly well with commodity products such as electricals, but is less relevant in categories such as gardening – for which customers are typically mature and relatively prosperous.
  • Black Friday also applies to services: internet service providers for example will launch ‘Black Friday’ deals in the UK.
  • Black Friday is a huge driver of adtech spend: campaigns must be live for the period.
  • Black Friday is no longer just a one-day event.
  • Luxury goods and high-value brands have no need to participate in Black Friday.
  • Creating authenticity, inspiration, and an emotional connection to the brand were all considered essential to avoid the discounting model associated with Black Friday.
  • Curation is a significant online trend; experts that help the consumer through buying decisions. Effective curation depends upon the quality of the retailer’s customer data.
  • The group remained surprised that, when it comes to data, most retailers are unable to distinguish between purchases that are made by the consumer for his or her own consumption, and those that are gifts bought for others.
  • Shopping remains entertainment; the high street will be full again this weekend.
  • For those that value convenience, Amazon remains king. It also provides quality retailers with a sales channel for out-of-season stock in particular.
  • French-style fixed ‘sales windows’ during the calendar were considered inappropriate for the UK: regulation creates challenges and restricts free trade.

To review key findings from previous eCommerce Leadership Dinners, please click here.

The Spectrum & Ardent eCommerce Leadership Dinners are a quarterly invitation-only forum for peer-level strategic discussion and relationship building.

To register your interest in attending our next London event, please contact Sarah Rush at Spectrum (sarah.rush@spectrum-ehcs.com) or Olivia Snow at Ardent (OSnow@ardentadvisors.com).


About Spectrum

Founded in 2001, Spectrum is a specialist London-headquartered leadership consultancy that partners long-term with ambitious European technology organisations to help them grow: by advising on, and subsequently appointing Board members, executive management, and interim executives.

About Ardent

Ardent is a boutique corporate finance house with a specific focus on the eCommerce arena. Advising growth companies on financing and arranging exits/ trade sales, clients include online retailers, brands and publishers as wells as technology and service providers, both in the UK and across Europe.