With Black Friday approaching (and having already started for some), we’ve done some research on customer attitudes to this pre-Christmas consumer frenzy.

We analysed reviews collected through the Reevoo platform for purchases made last Black Friday, and compared the scores and sentiment against the rest of the year.

It turned up some interesting results.

reviews_tablev3

So that’s:

  • lower scores for products bought on Black Friday
  • much lower customer experience scores
  • lower value for money scores

That’s right… despite snapping up bargains, people still say they’re getting lower value for money on Black Friday.

So what’s going on?

Waiting online

Web traffic to sites offering deals increases by 220% on Black Friday, so customers can face queues of over 30 minutes to access sites. Some don’t mind the extra wait, but for others it’s a cause of frustration.

One customer of a large electronics retailer was frustrated by the online experience, but still gave an 8 out of 10:

“Waited an hour to get onto [retailer] online on ‘Black Friday’ but from that point was easy to complete my purchase”

But for another customer, the wait to buy online dropped the score to a 7.

“It was black friday and I had to wait 35mins to access your website I nearly gave up and didnt bother to purchase anything..”

 

Late delivery

We found that the biggest factor that leads to a negative customer experience score on Black Friday is late delivery.

This customer’s frustration led to them giving a score of 6 out of 10.

“Late delivery during black Friday week… Not effective communication with customers service or the delivery courier.”

A similar theme in this review, also a 6 out of 10:

“Delivery of product was expected before Xmas, however due to Black Friday backlog delayed. The product should not be sold on expectation that supplier can fill the shelves.”

 

Misleading ‘deals’

This week has also seen widespread press publicity of a Which? report on misleading Black Friday deals. The report says that “more than half of last year’s Black Friday deals were cheaper or the same price at other times of year”.

This news may further undermine customer patience in Black Friday. If consumers feel they are being duped this year, those satisfaction and value for money ratings will only go down further.  

Solutions

There are some obvious things you can be doing to combat these common problems.

  • Raise bandwidth to account for extra web traffic. At Reevoo, we increase bandwidth by 20% between 22-28 Nov. We recommend retailers increase it by more than this to allow for unprecedented spikes in traffic during the Black Friday weekend rush.
  • Impose a “code freeze” on your website. Any changes to code or configurations may have unintended consequences and introduce potential bugs. Code freezes help to ensure that the site will continue to operate without disruptions and keep you stress-free.
  • Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Don’t offer next-day delivery if you can’t fulfil it, and make sure you have a disclaimer for your customers. After all, failed deliveries cost you a lot of money.

Some retailers should consider not ‘doing’ Black Friday if they can’t offer genuine deals. Offering large reductions on one day of the year simply does not suit everyone – and that’s totally fine. It might even be a selling point.

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Black Friday: here's what your customers think