The High Street’s woes continued on Black Friday

7th Dec 2018

The Black Friday bonanza proved to be disappointing for the High Street as customers shunned the stores and flocked online in search of bargains.

According to the retail intelligence firm Springboard, the number of shoppers visiting retail destinations fell by 5.4% from last year, a similar decline to that which was recorded over the same weekend in 2017. 

Shopping centres were the hardest hit, seeing an 8.3% fall in the number of visitors on Friday, and similar struggles over the weekend. In contrast, data from Loqate/GBG revealed that online sales had risen sharply to 46% up to 4pm on the Friday.  

Diane Wehrle, Springboard's Insights Director, said that the drop in footfall was a reflection of the larger discounts offered online: “Online is open for business 24 hours a day and is therefore seen as a more convenient option for shoppers.” 

The Institute of Customer Service also warned that retailers which fail to deliver ‘excellent’ customer service during Black Friday risk losing £1.4 billion in loyalty sales the following year. 

Shoppers who experienced ‘excellent’ service during Black Friday 2017 rewarded that same retailer with an average loyalty spend of £205.40 – £53 more per person than those whose service experience was just ‘good’.   

Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute of Customer Service, commented: “The research exposes the disparity in attitudes towards organisations that offer ‘excellent’ levels of customer service, and those whose service is only ‘okay’. Nine out of 10 people who received excellent service during Black Friday shopped with that retailer again, 37% more than those who received ‘okay’ service. 

“Experiences during Black Friday will impact customer loyalty outside of the Christmas period. Out-of-date stock could damage reputation and prevent return custom. Queues and a stressful shopping experience will have a similar effect. Retailers without adequate staff numbers could impact the conversion of new custom into long-term relationships, and affect the loyalty of existing customers.”

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