Its Black Friday and you know what that means, hour-long lines, people fighting over the last pair of shoes and, of course, insane amounts of spending. South Africa has inherited the Black Friday tradition in an effort to replicate the USA.
The problem is that sudden surges in traffic on their website and in the actual shops could damage retailers more than it does benefit them. Retailers walk a fine line between making more sales and being successful – or failing due to the excessive downtime on their websites. Any downtime can cause a lot of reputational damage, it's the equivalent of customers waiting in line to buy something while the employees have gone for a lunch break. Eventually, the customers will give up waiting and just go to another retailer by logging onto another site and buying the same thing.
This means that the competition who is better able to handle the extra traffic might end up taking sales away from other sites. Therefore, the most important element in this time is to put systems in place that would allow the retailer to better manage the extra traffic. Not that it helped in South Africa today as multiple retail websites crashed due to the surge of traffic. Pretty much as they did last year too.
Online retailers are not the only ones that are experiencing difficulties, shops were faced with hoards of customers, armed with shopping carts, who broke through glass doors and ruined security scanners in a desperate hurry to get their shopping done. Chaos has ensued both inside and outside many shopping centres, as the traffic to get into the shops was relentless.
Retailers are able to see an increase in revenue earlier in the year as opposed to an increase only in December around Christmas time. If retailers pay their cards right, they seriously benefit from the media sensationalizing Black Friday