Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving Day in United States of America and it is associated with massive discounted retail prices. This year Black Friday falls on Friday, 23 November. It started in the United States, but it has spread all over the world. In South Africa it gained popularity in 2014 and since then the retail community has been coming up with ways of satisfying their customers through discounts. Legend has it that in USA, accountants used black ink to enter profits made and on this Friday sales books would have more black ink signalling more sales and profits made during the day. Since then it has been called the Black Friday. Unfortunately Zimbabwe has been left out in this movement while more than 43 big South African retailers are offering massive discounts to their customers this year. But how does this work and is there any possibility for Zimbabwean retailers to catch up?
A strategic way of clearing inventory
Black Friday has become a day for retailers to clear their inventory by putting goods on insane discount prices. Interestingly, some of these products would either be nearing expiry dates or be substandard in one way or the other. Customers rarely concern themselves with those facts as they just want discounted prices. Retailers therefore capitalize on this in the wake of the approaching Christmas season. Black Friday therefore is an inventory clearing mechanism which gets read of expiring and out dated products.
A means of boosting sales
For retailers, sales are usually subdued during the course of the business year and this negatively affects cash flow. Knowing the impact on sales which comes along with Black Friday, retailers resort to inflating retail prices before, so that when discounts are made it comes as pulling factor to customers. Discounts range from 50% to 75% and sales double and quadruple during this period. No wonder why this period has become so popular amongst both retailers and their customers although it’s for different reasons.
Promoting Online Sales
Black Friday became popular in South Africa as a sales boosting strategy for South Africa`s online stores. Checkers store was among the first online stores to bring this phenomenon into the country in 2014 and it managed to serve close to a million customers on Black Friday. In 2015 they sold soft drinks enough to fill about 3 Olympic sized stadiums. You can imagine the amount of money made from the Black Friday sales. For the 23 November 2018 Black Friday sales, more than 43 large South African shops have promised their customers a number of discounted deals.
Zimbabwe still remains outside the wave
The only black Friday Zimbabwe knows is that of November 1997 when the Zimbabwean dollar crushed losing 75% of its value to the United States dollar. Last year, however, some retail shops made an attempt at changing this narrative. Ok Mart and Edgars offered Black Friday deals in Bulawayo and parts of Victoria Falls. This year, 10ngah , a Zimbabwean online store, promise to offer discount deals on the 23rd of this November.
Can we expect our retail outlets to follow suit this coming Friday? Given the state of our manufacturing sector and the inflated prices we have been exposed to, is there any possibility for Black Friday craze hitting Zimbabwe with a storm?
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