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ASB MAGAZINE: Black Friday and its spinoff Cyber Monday (BFCM) are almost upon us. If you’re not already familiar Black Friday, its origins began with a sales event on the Friday after Thanksgiving in the USA. Black Friday is  named ‘Black Friday’ because so many people went out to shop (after Thanksgiving) that it caused traffic accidents and even violence amongst irate shoppers. The Philadelphia Police Department coined the phrase to describe the mayhem surrounding the congestion of pedestrian and auto traffic in the downtown area as early as the 1960’s. It’s worthwhile asking whether a sales event that has its origins in so much negative energy is worth celebrating and why Australian’s celebrate Black Friday at all?  We wrote about that here;

Fortunately, some brands like Spell & the Gypsy Collective, VeJa and others are boycotting Black Friday admitting feeling the ‘frenzy and hype’ behind Black Friday kind of flies in the face of  their brand values. More than 300 clothing brands in the USA have joined forces in a movement called Make Friday Green Again’, arguing that discount deals encourage consumers to buy goods they don’t need, and that unsustainable behaviour worsens climate change. Patagonia made waves in 2016 for pledging to donate 100% of its Black Friday profits — what amounted to more than $10 million — to grassroots environmental groups fighting to protect vital natural resources like water, air, and soil.

However, the harsh reality is Black Friday and Cyber Monday is here to stay and continues to grow beyond ‘flash sales’ the actual sales period is a lot looser, with many retailers releasing deals in advance or extending their discounts well into the following week.  The period of these sales now ranges between November 26 and October 3rd posing very real consequences for retailers who aren’t prepared.

Kurt Nyholm who runs AKWA surf in Milton NSW, a family owned store deeply connected to its local community and passionate about surf recently sent an email to suppliers justifiably asking how his wholesalers partners are approaching this year’s online sales.

“As a bricks and mortar retailer this sale is pretty devastating, and the question of price matching by customers always comes up, I am hoping there will be vigilance on our brands behalf if current products and ranges are seen at a disturbing discount via online channels, especially all our fresh summer stock which will sell for full margin for Christmas,”  – Kurt Nyholm.

Our presumption is that many Australian surf retailers (like Kurt) are deadset against Black Friday and Cyber Monday with many of them looking for answers from suppliers. It’s disappointing that industry bodies that claim to represent the interests of surf retailers aren’t taking more decisive action on behalf of their members or providing solutions. These sales and others like AfterYAY Day and Amazon Prime Day are just as much part of the retail landscape as Boxing Day Sales and we’ve been writing about them for awhile now.

As we concluded in our Professional Edition article surf retail can’t ignore BFCM just like it can’t say no to Boxing Day sales. Mark Eymes spoke to Adam Sharp, Bruce Turner, Chris Athas, Neil Ridgway, Justin Daniels, Damian Monteleone and Dougall Walker on how surf brands and retailers can best address the new wave of promotions and discounting. BFCM is the hottest topic right now in the surf industry and one that’s got everyone talking, but few want to talk about mainly because it could be viewed as collusion, which is illegal between competitors. We discussed the issues in detail here (in March)…

Australian’s are expected to spend more than $320 million across Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which represents an estimated .032 percent of total Australian retail sales.  Some of the best advice you’ll read below is to stay focused on Christmas and New Year  sales and avoid discounting as ‘margin still matters’.

Looking ahead, to 2020 we’re saying goodbye to Black Friday and  instead we are partnering with Building The Revolution to deliver Board Shop Day May 16th, 2020. On this day, the spotlight is firmly back on Board Shops with limited editions products sold through board shops only. The goal is to put the special back into specialty retail and not make Board Shop Day a holiday of sales and discounting. It’s a simple, yet brilliant antidote to the new wave of online flash sales. Instead of asking suppliers what they are doing about Black Friday, maybe take a more positive outlook and ask them “What are you doing about Board Shop Day?”

 We reached out to a panel of experts for their response to a simple questionWhat can (B&M) surf retailers do right now in response to Black Friday / Cyber Monday online sales?” If you haven’t taken action and are looking to mitigate the potential  loss here’s what the experts say you can do to reinvent or repurpose Black Friday and Cyber Monday.



“Reinforce ‘really strongly’ the benefits of shopping local. Something like 70c is retained though the local community by way of rent, wages and all of those things. It’s the ripple effect by the simple transaction of shopping local; the courier, the coffee shop next door, that circular economy of shopping local. That’s the message retailers need to convey this Black Friday via their social media, staff and customers.” Victor Tilley – former Red Herring owner & Board Shop Day collaborator.

“Retailers need to realise that a normal day where you might turnover say $5k maybe down to $3.5k on these online sales days. How does that affect my staff planning on those days? Do I really need to roster on that extra casual helper that day? That’s the harsh reality retailers should be considering”  Victor Tilley – former Red Herring owner & Board Shop Day collaborator.

“I feel the best thing Brick and Mortar retailers can do in response the Black Friday / Cyber Monday online sales is focus on their own brand. The number one selling product inside every surf shop should be the surf shops own product. Why not produce limited edition shop products and release them on Black Friday. Board Shop Day is collaborating with Kanvas by Katin on 3 limited edition shirts that will only be available in their store. Give your customers something they can’t get everywhere.” Mike Vavak – Founder Building The Revolution & Board Shop Day

“If you haven’t already bought some specials in preparation for Black Friday/Cyber Monday start going through your inventory and create a list of products that haven’t performed well and make a sales area in your shop that is highly visible from the entry. You have to try to look like you are on the program as much as possible and make it work for you in some way rather than miss out altogether.” Mark Eymes – Retail Consultant and ASB Contributor.

“We expect both days to be less than .032 percent of total Australian retail sales,” said  ASB regular Brian Walker – CEO Retail Doctor Group | Retail Consultancy & Advisory.

“Have one or two lead lines that you can promote but what is more important is to focus all energy on the Xmas New Year retail window”  Brian Walker  – CEO Retail Doctor Group | Retail Consultancy & Advisory

Brian’s Top Nine Tips for this Cyber Monday and Black Friday.

  1. Hero categories in place
  2. Red hot specials and back up in place
  3. Strong differentiated local marketing
  4. Drive people to your shop through social and local
  5. Have gun staff fully trained
  6. Have a Xmas / New Year sales target in place
  7. Reward your best salespeople above target
  8. Have a one back in the New Year offer
  9. Avoid discounting pre -Xmas (Margin Matters)

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