Black Friday, the global shopping phenomenon that originated in America, has secured its place on the calendars of discount-hungry South Africans. It’s become known as a day to find unbelievable deals both instore and online on all sorts of items. The uptake of the sale saw annual sales in November 2016 jump up to a staggering 3.8%, according to data released by Stats SA.
For online fashion powerhouse, Zando, the day brought record-breaking orders - by the factor of 11 compared to an average day in 2016. Despite the immense pressure from customers looking for the best fashion deals, there was 100% site visibility throughout the day, with site visits increasing by 300%. This resulted in one item being sold per minute, with the biggest demographic being Johannesburg with Cape Town coming in second, respectively.
This has set the precedent for the 2017 Black Friday sale for the company. With a prediction that 100 items will be sold every minute, an order will be dispatched every four seconds and around 22-million South Africans will be reached, the pressure is on. Therefore, while still focusing on customer satisfaction, with the usual free deliveries and returns and seven payment methods available, Zando has put a plan in place to deal with the increased traffic.
Grant Brown, managing director and COO of Zando, gives insight into how the award-winning ecommerce site is streamlining the process to ensure a smooth shopping experience for customers.
How are you preparing your IT infrastructure (your website and payment platform) for Black Friday?
We have implemented a “feature freeze” whereby we are not developing or deploying any new features leading up to our BlackFriday campaign. Very early on we identified areas that needed to be addressed and have been developing fixes to ensure we maintain a positive customer experience during Black Friday. We are also currently recreating campaigns which will be run during Black Friday to be able to test the mechanics and the load onsite well before the actual day.
In terms of the payment providers we are, to a certain extent, at their mercy but we have been in constant communication with them with regards to our forecasted volumes so they are able to plan accordingly. However, at Zando we offer a large variety of alternative payment methods including COD (cash on delivery) and EFT which customers can be redirected to if necessary during Black Friday.
How are you preparing your logistics (order fulfilment) to handle the oncoming load?
At our warehouse we have improved the physical infrastructure to increase picking speeds, we have increased our staff complement and added additional resources like checking and dispatch stations. Over the last few weeks we have spent a lot of time with our courier partners discussing and planning around the anticipated volumes. We will also internally manage the distribution of volumes across our partners to ensure on time delivery to the customer. Finally, we have increased our own delivery fleet by over 50% to help alleviate the pressure caused by the dramatic increase in shipped parcels.
For more on Zando's Black Friday deals, click here.