“Retailers can’t continue like this” - Little Mistress CEO Discusses Impact Flash Sales are Having on UK Retail as Ve Reveals 5x Increase in Online Sales During Black Friday Compared to 2017

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  • “Retailers can’t continue like this” - Little Mistress CEO Discusses Impact Flash Sales are Having on UK Retail as Ve Reveals 5x Increase in Online Sales During Black Friday Compared to 2017


Ve Global (Ve) has revealed that during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, online sales increased by a massive 34 per cent compared to last year, with customers spending on average £116 per purchase.

In its latest update on the online performance of the UK retail sector during the festive shopping season, Ve analysed more than a million browsing sessions and found sales were also up by a substantial 468 per cent compared to an average shopping day.

For the second consecutive year, Ve found that Black Friday displaced Cyber Monday as the day of choice for online consumers, with 41 per cent more sales, 32 per cent more traffic and an average of £28 more per purchase registered on Friday over Monday.

Other insights found that consumers spent more time onsite compared to last year, with the average shopper browsing for 7 minutes – up 2 and a half minutes compared to last year – and bounce rates fell by 13 per cent for fashion and consumer electronic brands.

Ve CEO David Marrinan-Hayes, said:

“Despite Amazon and other Internet retailers triggering seasonal discounts earlier in the month, there’s no mistaking that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now the biggest online sales events in the UK eCommerce calendar.”

“What’s good to see is that consumers are spending more and more time online to research the best deals possible. This increase in browsing time gives UK retailers an opportunity to grow their customer base but only if they’ve optimised their sites with the acquisition and engagement technologies that take advantage of this increase in traffic.”

As part of its oncoming commentary on the ‘Golden Quarter’ which includes gleaning insights from its clients, Ve spoke to Little Mistress CEO Mark Ashton on why retailers are ‘scared stiff’ of losing out over this period and why there’s a growing need to go back to the traditional festive sales calendar:

“Retailers are scared stiff of not taking money and losing market share over this period.”

“You’ve got the behemoths spending outrageous sums to be placed at the top of every online search, reduced profits due to retailers discounting their goods earlier and for longer periods each year, and proposed Government policies that don’t seem to help brands online or on the high street. Put simply, retailers can’t continue like this.”

“There’s only so much money for all retailers to share. Add to this that the percentage share spend rate has doubled in online spending since 2013 to 20 per cent, and what you’re left with is a recipe for disaster for many who aren’t agile or savvy enough to react.”

“Traditionally, November and December could make up to 40 per cent of your year in terms of gross profit and turnover, with most retailers relying upon this to financially plot out their first quarter in the following year. Now, it looks like we are heading for a fraction of that gross profit, and turnover will suffer if we don’t keep up with the Joneses of discount. That needs to change.”

“The Golden Quarter that’s emerged over the past three years is a 100-metre dash of sorts. Retailers are on the starting line in November and can’t wait to go before the B of the bang has sounded in order to grab their share. The problem is that in the current climate, they don’t stop running until January.”

“This race to the bottom isn’t good for retailers. You sell the majority of your stock at a heavily discounted rate and can’t replenish it quick enough for the remainder of the year. I’d love to see the industry go back to how things were traditionally, so consumers shopped how they used to shop.”

“But in order for that to happen, the big brands and retailers would need to sit around a table and all agree to stick to key sales dates so there’s a start and an end to the discounting period. This is what I hope Mike Ashley will bring up with MPs when he meets with them on 3rd December to discuss how we can revive our town centres.”

On the proposed digital services tax announced by the Chancellor in this year’s budget, Ashton goes on to add that penalising digital companies may be the wrong approach if the goal is to save the high street.

“As an online business with a growing high street presence, our rent is predominately paid to Google: PPC, SEO, and other forms of paid advertising. Yes, many online retailers do not pay rent or sign leases, but there’s still considerable charges if you want to attract audiences to your site.”

“Instead of penalising digital businesses, the Government should reduce the tax paid by those operating on the high street and by a considerable amount. At least double digits if they really want to see a turnaround in the immediate term.”

On offering advice to retailers as to how they could improve their outlook for the Golden Quarter, Ashton believes brands should be working hard to create a ‘value exchange’ between brands and those customers who’ve agreed to share their personal data.

“We’ve always invested heavily in the customer experience and that includes trying to surface the clothes our customers want in the shape, size and style that they love.”

“In order for us to achieve this, we’re working closely with Ve Global to understand our customers in greater detail and develop onsite technologies that offer more meaningful online experiences for each individual. I believe other brands should follow suit if they want to see more returning customers and sales, by valuing the trust consumers place in them when offering up their data.”

Ve will be delivering online consumer data insights and expert commentary on trends emerging during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and those key dates throughout November, December and early January, otherwise known as ‘The Golden Quarter’. You can sign up for updates, here: https://www.ve.com/blog/golden-quarter


Notes to Editors

Ve logo and images: https://goo.gl/KndLoQ

Click on the following link for more information on Ve’s media commentary during the Golden Quarter: https://www.ve.com/blog/golden-quarter

Media contact

Danny Bartlett, International Head of Communications

Danny.Bartlett@Ve.com | +44 (0) 7737315081

About Ve Global (Ve)

Ve exists to inspire our client’s customers throughout their online journey, regardless of business size or sector. Founded in 2009, Ve started life developing basket recovery email technology. But that was just the beginning. Our appetite to predict and respond to consumer behaviour in the digital age led us to develop award-winning technologies, that attract the right audience, with the right message at the right time.

Today, we serve 5,000 clients across 18 territories, with our consumer-first solutions ensuring every customer enjoys the tailored and intuitive online experience they deserve.

Ve.com | @Ve_HeadQuarters