The Miracle Cure for Your Black Friday Hangover

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After The Party...The Hangover!

Well as parties go, this year’s Black Friday weekend was ‘one huge sales party’!

We are not going to bore you by repeating all the stats about how many billion dollars of sales were made, how many million parcels need to be delivered or what was the average response time for the Argos or Target website. Let’s suffice it to say that US$4.4bn spent online in the US and £1.1bn spent online in the UK is a big party in anyone’s vocabulary.

But like all good parties the morning after normally starts with a hangover as you try and piece together what happened the night before.  And the bigger the party...... the bigger the hangover.

If you are a retailer you will still be busy for a few days trying to get all those parcels out and working out how to deal with the inevitable returns. But there is a moment on the horizon you are dreading, in effect this moment is going to be the ‘mother of all your hangovers’.

That moment is going to be like someone throwing a jug of ice cold water over your poor


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Singing for their supper: why casual dining needs to change

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In my wallet, I have two 30% off coupons for Pizza Express. Alongside them, I’ve got some random membership card that entitles me to 40% off at Pizza Express. Oh, and… hang on, yep, here it is: another Pizza Express saver - this time a £10 voucher earned with supermarket loyalty points. That’ll keep the toddler in “Pat A Pony” pizzas for the next few weekends (he seriously needs to learn how to pronounce the word “pepperoni”).

Thing is, I didn’t have to do anything to get these coupons. I didn’t scrub dishes in their kitchens, or win some kind of competition. I didn’t even have to like pizza (I’m ambivalent). Pizza Express just gave them to me because that’s what casual dining chains do these days. They discount. Relentlessly. Aggressively. Dementedly. To the point where it’s no longer about attracting new business or inculcating loyalty, it’s simply a matter or keeping up with the Jones. Or, to be more precise, the Garfunkels, the Carluccios and the, um, Nandoses.

The rest of retail already went through this and - thank god - is finally starting to come out the other end.


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Big Deal! Why Deals Don't Work.

Why deals don't work

It's a bit legendary is Le Renais de Venise - a restaurant where there's only one thing on the menu. Steak. No choice of cut, no choice of sides. You're getting an entrecôte with their secret sauce, fries and a green salad with walnuts, or you're going somewhere else for your dinner.

Offering absolutely no choice is a bit brilliant for a restaurant. It shows passion, expertise and a certain cheeky charm. But it's a rotten way to run promotions if you're in retail.

And yet, that's exactly what most retailers still do - they push one or two prescribed deals at prospective customers and refuse to let them have any say. 'The Big Deal!', 'Catch Of The Day!", 'Special Offer!'... these isolated promotions might seem generous but, actually, all they do is narrow down customer choice, hamstring the shopping experience and destroy the price perception for the discounted product.

Once upon a time, there was a certain silly glamour in daily deals. Pre its Amazon acquisition, woot.com was a hoot (dotcom) - it was the Le Renais of online retail. But these days, it's just another conduit for remnant stock. Similarly, once upon a time, there was something cool about the hyper-local daily deals offered up by the likes of Groupon and LivingSocial - but we've all seen how those panned out for participating brands. In fact, if this story in Adweek is anything to go by, these are extremely bleak times for the doyens of Daily Deals.

So, if prescribed deals don't work, what is the answer? Less push, much more pull. Simple. Give your customers the opportunity to tell you what they want to see offered up in a deal - and, once a large enough number request the same thing, release that deal into the wild and watch it kill. From a purely practical point of view, a customer-curated deal comes with a de facto pool of red hot prospects


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