It’s all over bar the shouting… or is it?

After more hype than a Vegas title fight and a copious amount of huffing and blowing from the powers that run the high street, Black Friday has come and gone. And as the whole shebang is over bar the shouting, the bean counters have their abaci out and are voraciously totting up the numbers. It looks like the final score is High Street 1 eCommerce 5.

Headlines are flying around and as always there are conflicts, but the overall feeling is that the high street is down, and online shopping is becoming the dominant force for Black Friday and Christmas shopping. Some retailers did well, John Lewis are reporting record sales for the Black Friday weekend, but most are bemoaning the rise of the internet and although foot fall is up sales are not matching the scale of digital competition.


In our previous blog, we predicted that for online merchants who chose to sit out the discounting madness, there would probably be a surge in sales as fallout from the vast increase in traffic. Looking at the StoreFeeder dashboard and drilling down it seems that was entirely the case. Most of the merchants we work with saw huge spikes last Friday and across the weekend whether they were discounting or not. Looking at the pie charts it is evident that merchants taking advantage of the Amazon marketplace had a bumper weekend to say the least.

So, what now? We are on the final furlong towards Christmas and most UK workers will have been paid this week. ‘A Fairy-tale of New York’ has been playing in the supermarkets for about three weeks now and it is fair to say that shoppers are keen to get the Christmas shopping done. We will be keenly looking at the numbers and weighing this coming weekend up against last weeks. Maybe today is white Friday….? Maybe this weekend will see spikes that match last weeks? Only time will tell, and we’ll no doubt have something to say about it in the next blog. Until then, happy shopping.

Black Friday? What’s it all about? And is it worth it?

With the tedious inevitability of an unloved season, Black Friday is almost upon us. Retailers the world over will be slowly rubbing their hands over the promise of untold riches and consumers are getting their fighting gear and armour dusted off to go and grab them bargains. However, online merchants and indie traders may be gasping for air in a fit of debilitating panic at the prospect of cutting margins even further in the quest to hit a profit.

All of this for an American engineered tradition, designed to get our colonial cousins off the sofa and out spending the day after Thanks Giving. I suppose we can thank the likes of Wallmart, who had the genius idea of selling TVs the size of small planets for 50p, causing a tidal wave of shopping flavoured hooliganism and over spending the likes of which has not been seen since the Millennium Dome project. Black Friday is big business no mistake, but is it worth it?

StoreFeeder works with merchants of all sizes. We provide a system that gives them scalability to handle a Black Friday stampede any day of the week. When we look at our network and server capacity this time of year it hits a pace unknown throughout the first three quarters of the trading year. Headlines like: This Will be a Trillion Dollar Christmas fly around the internet like bats on amphetamine, fuelling the frenzy and the excitement.

Looking at the numbers, eCommerce grows every year. However, it is the likes of Amazon who managed to take 45% of all online sales on Thanks Giving and 54.9% of all Black Friday online sales last year, closely followed by the likes of Walmart and Best Buy.

It is not disputed that ecommerce is now a dominant force in retail, and that Black Friday will drive millions of customers and billions in revenue. Black Friday is starting to look very much like a club for the behemoths of retail on and offline and maybe as a small trader or merchant, just maybe, it may be worth sitting on the side-lines and just watching the madness unfold?

Let me explain, the world’s largest retailers have been planning their Black Friday campaigns since the lights went down on the last one. In the last few weeks their marketing machines and buying staff have been working tirelessly through teaser campaigns and media leaks to get the punters hyped about the last Friday in November. Thus, ensuring a good turnout. So why not keep your prices as they are? Make sure that you provide a good product and service for a fair price. Utilise your good reviews and just sit back and take advantage of the fact that traffic over that last weekend in November is going to be off the charts and Black Friday or not, some of it is bound to come your way.

Sounds mad? Let’s look at Next. The UK retailer didn’t do Black Friday until last year. It is unknown at time of writing if they will go again this year. Granted they discount through the year, but the big deals come after Christmas. They stay true to their traditional Boxing Day sale (December 26th for you guys outside the UK). The Brits will get up pre-dawn, venture to their local branch and queue. The Brits love queuing. When the doors open at 5 or 6am they’ll pile in – they won’t scrap, they’ll just shop ‘til they drop. Next has preserved this tradition and because of that it still means something. And whilst other retailers cut their margins in November, Next used to hold out because they know they have a Boxing Ace up their sleeve. And the customers love it. The good news for Next is, that going online with Directory has worked well and the online Boxing day sale also produces a digital bonanza giving them another revenue boost.

They may do Black Friday this year, they may not. Many would say not doing Black Friday is madness, but taking advantage of massively inflated online traffic, and huge footfall on the high street by keeping your powder dry for a real sale after Christmas (just like in the old days), may be the method to a peculiar but profitable kind of madness.

StoreFeeder Releases Pricing Profiles

A new year brings further new features from StoreFeeder. Due to changing markets and the increasing need to manage margins, StoreFeeder have released pricing profiles to their enterprise customers.

This feature offers retailers the ability to automatically control their pricing in channel or on a marketplace, giving shop owners peace of mind that profits will be maintained despite fluctuations in the marketplace that are beyond their control.

What is pricing profiles?

Pricing profiles allows shop owners to create a formula using a set of predefined tokens. Pricing profiles can then be linked to listings and a dynamic price will be calculated in accordance with your margin expectation. Anytime that a token changes the price will be recalculated. For example; this will help merchants when a supplier feed updates the cost price of a product. As supplier costs can be one of the tokens assigned to pricing profiles, the listing price will be automatically updated.

ScreenShot

Pricing Profiles by StoreFeeder

 

Tokens

Token

Token examples for StoreFeeder Pricing Profiles

Merchants who use the StoreFeeder platform will have the ability to set their tokens, they can range from currency exchange rates, to cost price, shipping costs, discounts, channel charges and VAT or tax setting. As with all StoreFeeder features this one has been designed with the shop owner in mind. No two business are the same and StoreFeeder have taken this into account in the development of this power pricing tool.

How does Pricing Profiles work?

This feature works via a collection of tokens that can be combined to create a formula that can be applied to products. You can set your tokens which gives flexibility and when setting the pricing for your products you can also use ‘if statements’ to adjust pricing to within your preferred parameters. StoreFeeder has also included a selection of template formulas that subscribers can customise to suit their specific pricing strategy.

Competitive Edge

Pricing profiles can also work within channel. Channels can have a default pricing profile set. This will be selected automatically when creating new listings. Ebay default values can also be set up to have a pricing profile selected.

This means that merchants will be able to set up pricing profiles via an account feature. All StoreFeeder enterprise accounts will automatically get access to this feature, other accounts can have this feature added to their current plan.

Pricing Profiles fulfils the wishes of merchants across the globe. It enables automated control over the single most important aspect of commerce: Margin. StoreFeeder has created a tool that again will enable merchants to focus on the business of trade whilst the details of pricing fluctuations is dealt with.