What is Black Friday?
With Black Friday just around the corner, many of your customers will be excited about getting a head start on their holiday shopping.
Black Friday, which takes place annually on the Friday after Thanksgiving in November, is an informal name for the biggest shopping spree of the year. Throughout this time many retailers offer extensive discounts to shoppers on their products and services.
During the “Black Friday” sale, stores have opened early in previous years to let shoppers browse deals ahead of the normal store trading times. This year it looks like most retailers are sticking to their normal hours, but it’s a good idea to double check your nearest store’s opening times before visiting.
However, in recent years, the rush to shop on Black Friday has taken place less frequently at stores; due to the Covid19 pandemic there has been an accelerated move towards online shopping, as more and more customers have begun to prefer shopping digitally on the internet.
This shift has caused a new set of problems for retailers to consider, such as their website crashing due to being inundated with virtual shoppers!
Why is it called Black Friday?
Black Friday has been around in the United States since the 1900s. One theory is that the term “Black Friday” stems from a Philadelphia phrase in the 1960s, when police coined the term to describe the traffic chaos caused by crowds of people walking and driving around town.
Black Friday shopping New York, 1910
After the term “Black Friday” was coined, the media picked up on it, and the phrase caught on. It has even spread across Canada.
For retail store employees, this marks a season of less time with their families, due to long days standing on sore feet dealing with sometimes demanding customers. But for retail managers and executives, Black Friday has come to mean “black ink” because of the profits that can be made from these sales. It is believed that most retailers make the most of their money at this time of year.
Importance of Black Friday to eCommerce Retailers
Traditionally, retailers have rolled out in-store deals on electronics and toys during the Christmas shopping season. On this special day, retailers open their stores early. However, many people are shopping digitally online these days.
According to Forbes, 2018 was a record-breaking year for eCommerce online shops and retailers, bringing in $6.2 billion digitally, with sales growing by 23.6% compared to the previous year. Many people now choose to carry out their pre-holiday bargain hunting online. This presents an unprecedented opportunity for eCommerce retailers to attract new buyers and increase their sales volume.
Top tips for retailers on tackling Black Friday
With every Black Friday comes the inevitable wave of cybercriminals and scamsters who prey on unsuspecting business’ and online shoppers. Here’s how retailers can stay safe, protect themselves from cybercrime, and ensure customers have a safe, reliable experience on Black Friday. Keep the bad guys at bay with our recommended best practices!
Enhance customer experience with Infrastructure and technology upgrades.
Thanks to new technologies, physical shopping and digital shopping are merging. Retailers can now offer shoppers an enhanced in-store experience with options like ‘fitting rooms’ and ‘personalised digital displays.’
Even though technological enhancements have made shopping more convenient, they can also cause problems. For example, retailers must ensure that their infrastructures are built for speed, security, and reliability to keep up with customer demand during the influx of traffic caused by Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
When you partner with a cloud hosting solution that offers hybrid-ready products, core uptime, ironclad security solutions and an extensive network, it can be trusted to deliver a quality customer experience during high traffic situations.
Optimise website security
During the holiday shopping season of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the Action fraud reporting centre recorded a 200% increase in DDoS attacks compared to the previous year. In addition to e-commerce providers, payment service providers and logistics companies, the attackers often targeted hosting and cloud providers and ISPs that provide the digital infrastructure for online business.
Retailers need to develop a more practical and strategic approach to security that enables them to quickly recover from a cybersecurity event and return to business with no data loss. Once a retailer’s systems have been compromised, preventing future attacks is not an adequate protection method. By implementing tools that deliver continuous data protection and disaster recovery, IT teams can safeguard their organisation from cyberattacks and cybercriminals who attempt data extortion and disruption.
Careful about supply chains
As Black Friday approaches, potential supply chain issues might occur. Although there are factors related to why certain products are unavailable, or deliveries might be delayed, it is essential not to overlook cybersecurity.
Retail supply chains are becoming increasingly digital and interconnected, making them more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. For example, some ransomware attacks have evolved into extortion ware attacks where cybercriminals use breached information to extort not only the company but also customers and partners. This has the potential to disrupt entire supply chains.
To prevent the possibility of cyber-attacks, companies need to follow their established security best practices and remain vigilant. They should also be aware of how interwoven their supply chains are and how this affects their ability to maintain secure access points when working through the cloud.
Prevent random downtime from taking place
With more people buying things digitally than ever, retailers must ensure that their websites can cope with the increased demand.
Sometimes, retailers are faced with an unpredictable load on their systems. On top of this, last-minute changes to the website further increase this strain. . To handle the extra visitors and processing, companies might update their website software last minute. Worst case scenario, if a retailer updates too close to their launch date, the website can crash and become unavailable to customers.
Retailers should keep their sales systems stable and up and running during the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend. To do this, they should not update these systems on or around the date of the event and instead carry out these updates beforehand in preparation.
They should also have an immediate response plan in place if there are any issues with these sales systems, which will help ensure a positive customer experience.