Today is Black Friday. For Americans, Black Friday may conjure images of post-Thanksgiving early morning brawls; a sharp elbow in a rib, a futile quest for the latest model sandwich maker, a shove in a queue while waiting to be served by a frazzled cashier. Darkly, a quick ‘Black Friday’ Google search yields results such as ‘Brutal fights break out in American malls’ and ‘The Worst Black Friday Injuries and Deaths of All Time’.
In 2015, an article published by BBC journalist Anthony Zurcher outlined the evidence for the Americanisation (or should I say ‘Americanization’?) of the UK election. The US Presidential Election 2016 is no greater proof that the UK is experiencing hyper-exposure of American news. As British media is saturated with commentary, the awareness – and adoption – of American culture is increasing.
There is no question that Black Friday has made the journey across the Atlantic. Tesco, the UK’s biggest retailer and pioneer of online shopping, has announced 11 days of Black Friday deals. Topshop, considered by some to be the epitome of British fashion, has proudly revealed they will be offering 50% off of selected products this weekend. The phrase ‘Black Friday’ has now made its way into British vocabulary, with consumers accepting the American import as warm up to our beloved Boxing Day sale extravaganza.
However, this year, Black Friday reporting has observed a different trend: ‘Black Friday is dying a slow death’ reported Business Insider. Retailers are kicking off their festive discounts online, in most cases, several weeks before Thanksgiving, subsequently squashing demand for these one-day-only in-store deals that traditional retailers are used to delivering.
This change might create similarly scary ultimatums; stay competitive online, or risk losing revenue to the more www.dominant firms. However, this might not be the end of the story.
In a recent article by my colleague, Capital Law Associate, Esyllt Green, the advice to retailers was clear: taking care of employee well-being, as efficiency will lead to better long-term results. Engaging, motivating and encouraging loyalty creates an organisational culture that acts as a petri-dish for productivity.
Traditionally, the distaste for working the Christmas sales is a cross retail workers bear. The emergence and subsequent dominance of e-commerce means the Christmas sales period may become easier for managers. This provides employers with a unique opportunity: to take care of the shop-floor employees.
Black Friday is losing its relevancy to US shoppers. The holiday, which takes place the day after Thanksgiving, has historically been the biggest shopping day of the year in the US. But over the last several years, shopper traffic in stores on Black Friday has been falling with many retailers like Walmart, Target, and Amazon kicking off their holiday discounts online several weeks in advance.