Is Black Friday dead? what we learned from the JDA Consumer survey
Black Friday is an event that is marked in both consumer and retailer calendars. For the customer, incredible discounts on items that may have previously been unobtainable. For retailers, a sure-fire way to increase sales and ultimately increase the number of customers in the store.
It is arguable on the busiest shopping days of the year and so close to the holiday season, who can blame them?
But a recent survey has posed the question, is Black Friday dead?
In the second annual JDA Consumer Survey of more than 1,000 U.S consumers conducted by JDA Software Group Inc it was revealed that nearly three in four respondents (around 73 percent) prefer to do their holiday shopping outside of the holiday season, during e-commerce sales such as Amazon Prime Day.
In actual fact, 47 percent of respondents are planning on giving Black Friday or Cyber Monday a miss this year.
It seems that in the current market of continued proliferation of sales and discounting, and the challenge of satisfying consumer demand across channels, retailers and manufactures now more than ever need an agile supply chain capable of keeping up with changing consumer behaviour to better manage inventory and profitability.
The cost of shipping
Free shipping is fast becoming a more prescient customer expectation; in some cases, it can even be argued that shipping costs can be the make or break moment for a consumer. The survey has shown that one in four consumers do not shop with any retailer if it does not offer free shipping.
For those items that people just aren’t ready to miss out on, 46 percent of respondents said they would be willing to pay for shipping for a priority item. More interestingly, a strong 69 percent of consumers say they have spent way over their originally planned amount – just to qualify for free shipping.
It's time for retailers to ask themselves if free shipping is still a competitive differentiator?
Just pop it through the letterbox
If shipping costs are not an issue, then the actual delivery service most certainly is for 29 percent of respondents who claim that an item was not received despite assurances from the retailers that a successful delivery was made. Delivery is a big concern for shoppers. Forty-four percent stated that in actual fact it is the most serious issue that would affect their future business with a retailer.
It's not all bad though as 75 percent of consumers reported no problems with deliveries.
But where does the blame lay?
Despite the supply chain consisting of both a retailer and a separate shipping company it is the retailer (55 percent) that cops the blame over the shipping company (45 percent).
Return to sender
How successful a company is in handling returned goods goes a long way in the overall success of the company from a consumer perspective. 50 percent of shoppers believe that the inconvenience and cost of returns are the most frustrating elements of returning online purchases.
A modern trend for retail companies and consumers is both Buy Online Pickup in Store (BOPIS) and Buy Online Return in Store (BORIS) to create a true seamless customer experience throughout. 67 percent would prefer to return online purchases in stores. For customers who used BOPIS in the last year, 32 percent also used BORIS services.
Retailers must be ready to face a consumer base that expects this seamless customer experience.
This is my associate
Even though the future of the consumer experience seems to be heading online the survey reveals that for some, in store customer service and face to face interaction is still an important part of the consumer experience.
70 percent of respondents still rely on the support of in store sales associates in some way.
The holiday season has of course historically been a time of increased staff and employment the survey reveals that whether it’s the holiday season or not, it actually has no bearing on retail consumers. 80 percent of respondents say they do not rely on sales associates any more than usual during the holiday season.
That’s not to say that retailers should stop increasing staff to handle increased demand, but the ever-needed role of the sales associate in the modern world is an interesting thought to bear in mind.
The bottom line
The key findings from the survey reveal that consumers consider the cost of delivery and returns a critical element in their purchase decisions.
It also reveals that only one in four consumers will choose to shop again with a retailer if they experience a problem with a home delivery purchase. That number drops to nearly one in five when asked about shopping with that same retailer during peak holiday shopping times.
So, is Black Friday dead?
Retailers are now under more pressure to deliver on their promises to consumers throughout the whole year, regardless of seasonal shopping and the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales events.
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EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs
The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.
Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years.
It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC.
The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn.
In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products.
Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers
- The dispute began in 2004
- Tariffs suspended for 5 years
- $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
- $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date
- 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended
Both sides welcome end to tariffs
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.
“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.
Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”.
The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."
This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.
Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”