Black Friday becoming launching pad for UK Christmas shopping

Black Friday may be an American tradition but it has become very popular in the UK. An upcoming Webloyalty report on UK Christmas Trends for 2015 shows that 57% of consumers plan to shop on November 27 and sales are expected to top £1.6 billion making Black Friday one of the most important days of the year for UK retailers.

The report points to a shift in buying patterns with over 30% of consumers indicating the event has become the starting point for their Christmas shopping and 61% of consumers saying they either delay or bring forward purchases to take full advantage of Black Friday promotions.

Cyber Monday, on November 30, is less well known than its cousin, but still attracts attention with 40% of shoppers expected to use ecommerce to get their hands on discounted items.

This means consumer expectations are high with almost 20% of consumers looking for discounts of over 50%. The pressure is on (e)retailers to meet these expectations if they want to take full advantage of this pre-Christmas shopping blitz.

High expectations on the high street

What can retailers do to prepare for what is fast becoming a peak on their annual sales chart? Here are a few tips from industry experts.

Shout from the rooftops

With one in three consumers either delaying or bringing forward purchases to take full advantage of Black Friday promotions, retailers need to advertise their offerings early so shoppers can compare and narrow down their options. Humayan Khan of Shopify even suggests using a countdown to “get people excited.”

Be ready to perform a juggling act

Predicting exact shopping patterns on Black Friday and Cyber Monday is probably impossible. Will particular stores be picked clean of promotional items or will consumers shop online? The key to success is to balance stock based on past experience and a nimble and efficient supply chain to move stock from one store to another quickly if needed. Tommi Ylinen of REFLEX Solutions, also suggests creating “a virtual ring-fence around part of the stock earmarked for online sales,” that way you avoid having to recall goods from the stores to the distribution centre which “is always expensive and best avoided whenever possible.”

Safety first

Customer safety should always be a priority but with a higher than normal flow of shoppers aiming for the same items, stores can get a little chaotic. “Additional security staff and assistants on the shopfloor will assist in the day running more smoothly, with a higher sales conversion likely through the stores staying open,” suggests Guy Chiswick of Webloyalty. Ensuring some distance between sale displays to avoid a mad rush funnelled towards a single point might also be safer.

Why not free delivery?

According to David Bell of the Wharton School of Business, shipping and handling costs can trigger a high level of abandonment of online shopping carts. Retailers should consider offering free shipping or establishing thresholds at which shipping becomes free. Especially since research by Monetate, shows “55% of all online shoppers expect free shipping on every order.” If free delivery is not an option, “be transparent with your customers about delivery times, as shoppers may be happy to wait a little longer for their products if they’re getting value for money,” says Chiswick.

Get down to the bare essentials

Not all consumers want to knock elbows with their fellow shoppers to get their hands on the best deals so retailers must expect a significant increase of traffic vying for their ecommerce offerings on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While the advice above still applies to ecommerce, here are a few tips tailored to the Internet.

A seamless experience

To capitalise on customer interest, retailers should pare down their websites to make them as efficient as possible by disabling any added features that may slow down processing speed. A special section designed specifically for the holidays can also be created with simplified navigation channelling customers rapidly through the purchase process.

Stay connected

Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer a unique opportunity for retailers to increase future traffic. “One surefire way to do just that is to collect email addresses from your visitors to build both a responsive and profitable ecommerce mailing list,” says Khan of Shopify.

Be social

If you have Facebook and Twitter accounts, “consider offering exclusive deals to your followers,” says Steve Bulger of eFulfillment Service. “After all, this is probably one of the reasons they’re following your brand, and it’s certainly something they’ll appreciate.”

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are expected to be a great starting point to the Christmas season for UK retailers this year. These few tips should help you make the best of what is shaping up to be a better season than last year with Christmas spending expected to grow by 2.5% this year.

Retailers take heed; slow fashion is on the rise

While most fashion retailers continue to dance to the drum of the changing seasons, a growing number of consumers are looking for a more sustainable and ethical approach to revamping their wardrobe. In a connected world, shoppers are increasingly aware of unfair labour practices in developing countries brought on by the demand for cheap and fast-produced clothing, opening the door to slow fashion.

What is slow fashion?

Slow fashion, a term coined by UK sustainable design consultant Kate Fletcher, wants shoppers to be educated about what goes into making a garment, starting with its design and fabric selection, all the way to its production and life cycle. Its proponents believe that this understanding will lead to better consuming practices.

Shopping for slow fashion means making a conscious effort to buy fewer, longer-lasting and better-quality garments that won’t end up in a landfill at the end of the season. According to WRAP’s Valuing our clothes report, a significant 350,000 tons of used clothing finds its way into UK landfills each year, a value estimated at £140 million. The slow fashion movement wants consumers to rethink their relationship with fashion favouring designers and retailers selling products made sustainably, ethically and of longer-lasting quality.

What does it mean for retailers and ecommerce?

According to a YouGov poll, 74% of UK shoppers would be ready to pay an extra 5% for clothing made by workers paid a fair wage and working in safe conditions. An end to the global economic high has also led consumers to look for clothes that will last, says the Ecologist. This has prompted some retailers and designers to develop or market clothing lines that are more sustainable, including slow fashion brands. UK online retailer ASOS, among others, has added an Eco Brands section to its ecommerce site offering a variety of sustainably made products. Others, such as Debenhams, have adopted more rigorous auditing standards to ensure ethical working conditions from its suppliers.

But slow fashion has an uphill battle if it hopes to replace fast fashion. Brands such as Zara, H&M, Uniglo, and Forever 21 generated total global sales of £31.5 billion in 2013, according to Triple Pundit. While sales of ethical clothing represented a much smaller £177 million they grew by 72% in 2010, indicating consumers’ growing interest in buying more sustainable fashion.

But the higher cost of slow fashion items and the anti-consumption ethos promoted by the movement can be obstacles when it comes to triggering purchase. While investment in slow fashion items may be a sound choice ethically, many consumers cannot see past the higher price tag or the easy and constantly changing availability of fast fashion options.

Some retailers’ solution to this problem is to denounce fast fashion as ‘unhealthy.’ In an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal, the American ecommerce retailer Zady declared: ‘Fast fashion is Fast Food… Process Matters. Quality Matters. Honesty Matters.’ Others, like Fletcher, speak of a necessary redistribution of the consumer’s money. ‘Of course quality costs more. We will buy fewer products, but higher in value. A fairer distribution of the ticket price through the supply chain is an intrinsic part of the agenda. Jobs are preserved as workers spend longer on each piece.’

Is ecommerce slow fashion designers’ best friend?

One guiding principle of slow fashion is to reduce the footprint of fashion production and consumption. This goal makes ecommerce an ideal partner in its development. It’s no surprise then that the greatest inroads made by slow fashion designers and retailers has been online. In a globally connected world, ecommerce and the blogosphere offer slow fashion designers the flexibility they need to market their often-unique products and be active participants in the promotion of their clothing, accessories and ethical principles. Zady’s use of the Internet to market itself is a great example of the possibilities of that medium for slow fashion.

While slow fashion is not threatening fast fashion’s stranglehold on the market yet, and probably won’t for years to come, it offers an alternative to an increasing number of consumers who want to get off the never ending carrousel of disposable fashion. Retailers need to take heed of this trend not only because it will benefit the planet but also for their future bottom line.

UK (e)retailers embracing slow fashion/sustainability

Digital Innovation Competition – Win a Fitbit Charge

Do you fancy winning a brand new Fitbit Charge?




This competition is now closed, thank you for your interest. For more opportunities follow @WebloyaltyUK

To celebrate the release of the Retail Insider Digital Retail Innovations report We are offering you the chance to win a Fitbit Charge.

About the prize

The Fitbit Charge is a high-performance wristband delivering real-time fitness stats right on your wrist. OLED display shows you steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned, stairs climbed and active minutes. Stay connected throughout the day with Caller ID. Track your sleep and set a silent, vibrating alarm. Charge lets you monitor your trends by wirelessly syncing data to your smartphone and computer.

How to enter

All you need to do is select your favourite Digital Retail Innovation from the List below. Once you have selected your favourite, follow @WebloyaltyUK on Twitter and retweet the Digital Retail Innovation competition tweet. Alternatively you can like our Facebook page and share the below Facebook post.

The winner will be selected at random on the 30th July.


What are the innovations?


Amazon Dash

Amazon has released ‘Dash’ for customers of its Prime service. It is simply a button that is branded to an everyday item that they then press and which immediately orders the product from the retailer.

Amazon Prime Dash - sourced from

Rapid Q pre-ordering

The Rapid Q app allows supporters at the RBS Six Nations tournament to pre order food and drinks at the Aviva stadium whilst the game was in play. The food and drinks could then be collected by the user before the match, during half time or post match.

Rapid q app - sourced preoday

Waitrose Hiku home scanning

The grocery chain has been trialling the Hiku device among employees, which enables them to scan barcodes at home on products and have them automatically added to their online shopping baskets

Waitrose Hiku home scanning - sourced

Starbucks pay-ahead

Starbucks has developed an app to enable the pre-ordering of food and drink and more recently has been testing an extension to this with a pay-ahead option.

Starbucks app - labelled for reuse


Doddle are located in a growing number of train stations. They  act as collection points for goods ordered online that shoppers can visit on their way home from work or at lunchtime. Retailers sign up to the service and shoppers can select the Doddle option for fulfilment.

doddle- sourced from


Vote for your favourite Innovation

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Terms and conditions

  • The prize: a fitbit charge, Wireless activity Writsband
  • UK entrants only (If you’re from Ireland we have a similar competition for you here)
  • Entrants must be aged 18 or over
  • Entrants must select an innovation from the poll and like the Webloyalty UK Facebook page and share the competition with friends with Webloyalty UK on Facebook ( and/or Twitter ( and follow Webloyalty on one or both of these channels
  • Competition runs from Tues 14th July and closes at 23:59 on Wednesday 29th July
  • The winner will be chosen at random and notified on Thursday 30th July, and must respond within 24 hours, or another winner may be chosen
  • The name of the winner may be shared on the Webloyalty UK blog

Holiday research infographic – Digital Destinations

This holiday research infographic looks at the key findings from Webloyalty’s Digital Destinations report. Join the discussion on Twitter @WebloyaltyUK

Digital Destinations holiday research Infographic
Digital Destinations holiday research Infographic


Chapter 1 – Researching our holiday

43% of us use TripAdvisor

22% look at holiday brochures

26% of us use Facebook for research


Chapter 2 – Booking our holiday

One in four use price comparison sites

73% of us book our holidays online

37% of package deals are booked with a High Street travel agent

27% book with a High Street travel agent

8% of us now booking holidays through apps


Chapter 3 – During our holiday

33% of us are researching and booking activities whilst abroad

90% of those online will use hotel WiFi

84% of us stay online during our holidays

Men are more active online than women


Chapter 4 – After the holiday

When we are back from our holiday, a third of us upload photos

26% of those over 55 post reviews


View Webloyalty’s full  Digital Destinations holiday research report. 

Tripadvisor more popular than family and friends when researching holidays

TripAdvisor is revolutionising the way in which we research out holidays in the UK. Almost half of us (43%) now use TripAdvisor as a research tool prior to booking our main holiday.

Trip advisor

Recommendations on TripAdvisor are now the favourite route of holiday research, becoming far more popular than suggestions from friends and family, which only a quart of us (26%) sought for their last main holiday. Almost half of us (43%) do not deem recommendations from friends and family to be an important factor when selecting a holiday destinations, compared to less than a third (30%) who felt the same way about online reviews.


The traditional reason for visiting a site like TripAdvisor is to read or leave reviews of hotels or restaurants. In total, nearly a quarter of Brits (23%) wrote a review based on an experience from their last main holiday, with 13% actually posting the review when on the holiday itself. Given time to think on returning from the holiday, one in five of us (18%) will write a review of a holiday experience when back in the UK.

Perhaps it is not surprising then that one in ten (9%) of us used TripAdvisor as a booking tool for our last main holiday.

To find out more interesting facts about how we are using the web to research, book and experience holidays download the Digital Destinations report.




Webloyalty shares insight about ecommerce, looking at current trends and future predictions.