Black Friday is the world’s biggest sales promotion and now South Africans will have their share of it today at local retail stores.
Checkers was the first food retailer to bring Black Friday to South African shores in 2014 and this year, many more stores have joined the mania to ensure the country experiences the same crazy sales that countries abroad enjoy.
“We have been watching the trend mushroom around the world, obviously a huge day in the States, mushroomed to the UK and Africa – we were the first food retailer to bring [it to] South Africa last year,” said Neil Schreuder, Marketing Director at Checkers.
“It’s kind of like the Super Bowl of shopping, people get caught up in the excitement, the frenzy, the music, the big displays and this year the competitive environment – most of our competitors have followed suit and there’s a lot on offer for customers this year,” said Schreuder.
“A lot of planning involved to get it done but it certainly surprised us last year, we had more than 1 million customers through the doors, so it went incredibly well and this year we have brought it back and hopefully a bit bigger and better,”
He adds: “In South Africa our customers told us that it was really just about understanding this phenomenon they had read about and they were quite happy to see it come to South Africa.”
There are some concerns about Black Friday after some incidents in other places in the world but Schreuder assures that they’re approach is different.
“We have taken general grocery products that people buy every day and there’s enough for everybody until 10 pm on Friday night, so it is not about fighting over what is there, it’s really about offering value to everybody who can make it,” he said.
Schreuder understands how this could be seen as “cannibalising” Christmas sales but only in markets like the U.S. where it is more developed, and since South Africa is only having it for the second year this year it is unlikely.
For Black Friday it has a range of about 40 or 50 products Schreuder said, on top of the 1 000.
“We have over a thousand products on deal this week as part of our normal Christmas promotion and we have got a mix of products – a coffee machine at half price and there’s also OMO washing powder at half price.
Checkers has partnered with Uber to offer some incentives to motivate customers to come to the sale.
“For the first thousand new customers that sign up with Uber tomorrow, you will get a free ride to Checkers and back to your house – up to 200 rand,” he said.
While Black Friday is growing and becoming more of a trading success he explains that Christmas is more “instrumental”.
“It’s a very big trading day, it’s of the biggest trading days we’ll have in a year but it is certainly not make-or-break for the fortunes for the company for the full financial year.”