Are you ready? Christmas is coming early

November 13, 2019

Are you ready for Christmas? These days it arrives earlier for retailers. This year the shopping begins seriously on 29 November.

How so? That’s the date of Black Friday, the US retail frenzy which descends on the day after the Thanksgiving holiday. This in turn is defined as the fourth Thursday in November (you can thank President Franklin D Roosevelt for that; until the 1940s it was simply the last Thursday in November). Three days later sees Cyber Monday when the whole focus shifts online.

But why should UK retailers care? Because Black Friday is now almost as familiar to UK consumers as it is to consumers and businesses in the USA. It symbolises the opening of the Christmas shopping season and to mark the occasion shoppers expect to be presented with an array of offers and discounts to lure them away from the fireside and into the shops.

Christmas shoppers spent almost £100 billion last year – and a quarter of that is estimated to be in the sales – of which Black Friday is the season’s first. 2019 will be a good year for Black Friday: coming so late in the month means many people will have just been paid so they will most likely have funds in their account allocated for spend over the Christmas shopping period.

Why is it ‘Black’ Friday?

Some stories have it that Black Friday is so called because it’s the day of the year that retailers’ finances make it out of the red and into the black.

Another version maintains the name was given by Philadelphia Police Department in despair at the traffic jams and crowds caused by Christmas shoppers on the day between Thursday’s Thanksgiving and Saturday’s traditional Army-Navy football game.

The first recorded use of the term goes back to 1869 when two investors drove up the price of gold and caused a crash that wiped 20% off the value of the Stock Market.

Are you ready for a slice of the Black Friday action? Here’s our nine point checklist

  1. Get your Black Friday deals in place. That’s what gets the Christmas shoppers through the door.
  2. Make sure you are prepped for the crowds. Make sure you have got enough card machines (we offer them on short-term hire so you can have them just for the Christmas season)?
  3. Make sure you’re tap and go ready. Contactless cards and mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Not only do most consumers prefer them, they also cut down queues meaning you can get through more customers.
  4. Think about your staffing needs. Make sure there are enough people to handle any additional volume of customers
  5. Consider different or updated ways for customers to pay. Portable card machines are a great queue buster as you can take payments anywhere in the store – not just at the counter.
  6. Expand your footprint. You could think about setting up a pop-up shop too to take advantage of the crowds. Worldpay Reader allows you to take payments anywhere. We also offer temporary terminal hire for just this kind of one-off.
  7. Get your business online. Don’t forget Cyber Monday follows hot on the heels of Black Friday, why not consider Worldpay’s online payments
  8. Review your capital. If you need a bit of capital to buy stock or hire staff, Worldpay Business Finance could be the answer.
  9. Be International card holder ready. Are you set up to satisfy international customers? Accepting Diners Club International/Discover cards allows you to accept cards from RuPay (India), Discover Card (U.S.), Diners Club International, Troy (Turkey), Elo (Brazil), and more.