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What did we learn from Black Friday 2014?

The dust has settled on the UK’s biggest Black Friday ever, with businesses reporting sales of £1.32 billion. What can we learn from this mad flurry of retail action? No matter what the size of your business, Black Friday 2014 highlighted some trends that can improve your sales all year round.

Get buzzed


If there’s one thing growing faster than the sales figures on Black Friday, it’s the buzz around it. According to Google Trends, searches for “Black Friday” in the UK were four times higher in 2014 than one year ago and on Twitter #BlackFriday was mentioned over 132,000 times in the UK in 24 hours, making it a constant feature at the top of the trending topics.


Black Friday UK searches - O2 Business Blog
Searches in the UK for "Black Friday" since January 2012


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A report by Social Bakers found that customer care queries also rose sharply in the weeks leading up to Black Friday in the US. This is something UK businesses should be aware of for next year. But customer care on social networks is for life, not just for Black Friday. You should be closely monitoring social media channels for customer queries all year round, and have someone on-hand to answer queries around the clock when you launch special offers.

Social Bakers - Black Friday customer queries
Customer care queries on social media via Social Bakers

Make sure your website can handle anything


When the Black Friday surge hit, many retailers used online queuing systems to manage traffic. But some websites were simply overwhelmed by the number of visitors and crashed. Customers who had purposefully avoided the scrums in-store in favour of going online were left frustrated and turned to social media to vent.


Before you launch a really good offer, make sure your website can handle high levels of traffic – otherwise the positive buzz generated by your amazing value deal could soon turn sour.

Optimise for mobile


Mobile technology has made shopping a more flexible experience and customers are increasingly using their smartphones and tablets to browse, reserve and buy on the go. Almost a quarter of all Black Friday sales were made before 9am, as savvy commuters used their mobiles to snap up the best bargains on their way to work.


Mobile shopping is becoming more popular year round, so if your website isn’t mobile-friendly that should be your first priority. Easy payment options like PayPal can make the checkout process easy to manage, while the option of “click-and-collect” removes the headache of home delivery for your customers.


For more inspiration, check out how to win at Black Friday and Cyber Monday.



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