Black Friday: After the Party, the Hangover...

Phew! Together with retailers all over the World, you will be breathing a sigh of relief now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2016 are behind us!

This is because the past weekend was the culmination of months of planning to ensure that your websites stayed up, your call centres were able to take the strain and your logistics partners were fully prepped for the deluge. Of course, it will not actually be over until all those parcels have been delivered and all the returns have been dealt with, so it is safe to assume that you will be busy for a little longer yet.

But while you won't have actual numbers for a few weeks, it would only be human for you to be already taking a mental stock of what these two momentous sales days actually meant for your business.

A big shopping party

Early indicators already suggest that the Black Friday weekend was one big shopping party, even bigger than 2015! And even if shoppers continued to shift spending online, with Tamara Gaffney of Adobe claiming Black Friday 2016 dethroned Cyber Monday as ‘largest online shopping day of the year’, in-store spending in the UK was still


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HOW TO: drive shoppers into physical stores using social

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Do you work in retail? Does the word 'multichannel' feature in your title or your job spec? Then you probably spend every working hour figuring out how to harmonise your online and offline offerings: developing strategies, finding synergies and delivering sales across channels.

But I bet you've ignored social - especially when it comes to using social to deliver sales instore.

Don't worry. It's not too late to start, and we're going to give you some fuss-free ideas any retailer can implement which are guaranteed to make a real difference. Sounds good? Then, let's go...

We’ve all seen how social can dramatically expand reach, decrease acquisition costs and drive sales (just flick through this blog for 1001 examples). And social is, essentially, a digital medium - so it makes a certain amount of sense that it should be used to guide potential customers to digital destinations. But only using social to power e-commerce is like only using your car to drive to streets beginning with vowels: a massive underuse of available resources.

Of course, if you do want to use social to help your physical offering, you need to focus on footfall. Footfall is everything in the world of


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Entertainment retail in 2015: as much fun as a Soviet potato queue

Entertainment retail: about as much fun as a Soviet potato queue

Why is it that one of the most creative industries on the planet chooses to sell their wares in such a boring unimaginative way? Entertainment retail has been ripe for reinvention for a long time, so thank goodness the studios are finally stepping up and having a go.

When it comes to selling online, the entertainment industry has always been more “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” than “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” You take your product - be it a movie, an album, a book, whatever - you chuck the packshot next to an ‘add to basket’ button and you wait for Joe Schmo to come along and purchase. From Joe’s point of view, he browses or searches, he clicks and fills in some forms, then he waits - either for a package to land on his doormat or a download to land on his hard drive. It’s an experience more akin to queuing in a Soviet potato queue than cascading into a world of fantasy and imagination.

Which is weird. Because this is the entertainment industry. It’s supposed to be about pushing boundaries and making dreams


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Can social selling help telcos win the acquisition war?

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150 years after the American Civil War, there’s another showdown brewing in the US of A. But this time, it’s not being fought with bowie knives and Colt revolvers, it’s being fought with tweets and hashtags.

“#Jerks”, says John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile - firing a broadside at AT&T. “We’re coming for your spot,” he snarls, menacing top dogs, Verizon. “Crap network,” he sneers, lobbing a hand grenade at Sprint.

So far, his opposite numbers have largely remained above the fray. But this response - and its accompanying image - from Sprint’s newbie CEO, Marcelo Claure, is more than telling:

“I just finished my second week as CEO of @sprint and all these were my assignments. All completed!!!”

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Which referral gimmicks does he mean? I’m pretty sure he’s talking about T-Mo’s “Refer-a-Friend” programme, which offers unlimited 4G data plus a $25 voucher to anyone recruiting a pal.

Now, there’s nothing unusual about the campaign - referral programmes are ten a penny - but the tone is unapologetically aggressive. And Legere’s rhetoric which surrounded its launch was doubly so. Having previously accused his rivals of “raping” their customers (casually


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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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