What we need is more Black Fridays

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Amazon sold more than two million toys and one million pairs of shoes around the world on Prime Day 2016. Prime Day was launched in 2015 when Prime members bought more than 14 million items worldwide.

Malory Davies, Editor

Malory Davies FCILT,

This year global customer orders were 60 per cent up on that first event.

Discounts and sales are hardly new in the retail market, so why get excited about this one? Well, Simon Johnson, director of seller services UK at Amazon, points out that it helps sellers prepare for the upcoming Christmas period by providing a peak sales day as well as feedback and customer reviews on new and top selling products.

This suggests an intriguing possibility – ameliorating the impact of the massive spike in sales around Black Friday by introducing a series of new “Black Fridays”.

More than one carrier has complained about the fact that it currently has to maintain the capacity all year to deal with this one massive increase in demand.

But what if it were possible to engineer more such spikes? After all, this is what Amazon is doing for itself with Prime Day – which in itself puts pressure on the rest of the retail market.

The question is: how many such spikes would you need for it to be beneficial in terms of resourcing?

One extra “Black Friday” could actually be worse. It doesn’t really smooth out the demand for resources, it just doubles the frequency of the problem.

So, it would take a number of additional “Black Fridays” strategically spread across the year to make a difference.

One of the ways that operators can meet the demand for extra vehicles is by overlapping vehicle replacement schedules. And then there is the need find temporary staff. So, the new “Black Fridays” would have to take these factors into account.

Many retailers already dislike Black Friday and would resist the idea of more such days. But, with players of the scale of Amazon promoting events such as Prime Day, other retailers might in time find themselves under pressure to move in that direction.

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