Black Friday THIIS Magazine

The looming holidays will be on many retailers’ minds, however, before the man sporting a big white beard and red suit enters the frame, retailers across the UK are gearing up for a different kind of holiday and one that is completely rooted in generating sales.

Love it or loathe it, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, as retailers dealing largely in clothes, cosmetics and household appliances slash prices on select products in a bid to shift stock and boost sales ahead of Christmas. Having become one of the most significant days for retailers in the calendar over recent years, increasingly more mobility retailers have also started to embrace the consumer holiday, offering discounts to customers and taking advantage of the retail hype.

In one of our most polarising ‘trade thoughts’ yet, five mobility retail leaders share their thoughts on whether Black Friday and Cyber Monday have a place in the mobility sector.

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Andrew Finch, Marketing Manager for Clearwell Mobility

andrew finch Clearwell Mobility“The idea of events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday within the mobility sector lead to a number of questions. Is it right to heavily discount products which require an assessment for online sales which may be unsuitable? Should we, as retailers, be selling these types of products remotely in the first place?

“As an industry which is meant to focus on the end user’s needs, tempting customers with products which are heavily discounted can lead to purchases which are not suitable, simply due to the discounted price. Saving £300 on a riser recliner sounds much more appealing compared to making sure you purchase a full priced model which is suited to your needs.

“There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. Heavily discounting smaller daily living aids will not tend to lead to issues further down the line due to the nature of the products. There is also the option in some cases for retailers to work with suppliers to offer discounts on entire ranges rather than just specific models.”

Daniel Griffiths, Managing Director of Easy Living Mobility

daniel griffiths easy living mobility MD headshot“I’m all for Black Friday – to me, it’s a great way for our industry to gain more exposure yet again, as it is known worldwide and it’s now recognized and understood by the whole of the UK population. So, joining in with the retail world in offering our customers some fantastic bargains across this period really is a win-win for us all!

“On the other hand, there’s Cyber Monday, based and designed around driving consumers online, which I’m honestly not too much of a fan (currently).

“I feel there’s a definite need for our industry to have online products and services available to consumers, albeit I believe shopping online within our industry is a much more sensitive marketplace than most. With Easy Living Mobility always having the customers best interests at heart, this can be very challenging, to say the least.

“If a consumer totally understands what it is they are buying then buying online can be good but I question, do they? So, to add Cyber Monday into our consumers’ minds, I’d hate to think this would pressure them into buying the wrong product/service based on a price alone.”

Ricky Towler, Director of Middletons

ricky towler headshot middletons“Our products not only bring comfort but more importantly, provide life-changing benefits for our customers. Whether that’s rediscovering their freedom on a scooter or the comfort and health benefits relating to a chair or a bed. Therefore, we strive to offer ongoing good value and above-and-beyond customer service and aftercare that you simply can’t get elsewhere. Our customers need our products 365 days a year, not just on Black Friday.

“We are about much more than price, the friendly one-to-one service, the free needs assessments and scooter training we provide along with 24/7 aftercare, none of which is provided by online retailers that may be offering a Black Friday deal.

“That’s why instead of doing a ‘Black Friday’ deal, this year, we’ve decided on a different take ‘Give Back Friday’, where we will endeavour to give something back to the community or do something charitable, instead of advertising a cheap, quick deal.”

Chris Cox, Managing Director of Cinque Ports Mobility

Chris Cox Cinque Ports Mobility“Black Friday has little place in our industry. In the world of electronics and books, two of Amazon’s largest product lines, a grand ‘one day only’ sale is as attention-grabbing as it is successful. But our industry commands a specialist approach to the products and services we deliver, one where soft skills such as empathy and integrity win and where sales tactics and pressure selling would (and do!) fail.

“Many mobility specialists recognise that the provision of prescriptive equipment depends to a great extent on trust. The customer trusts they are being given good advice, that any purchase would represent fair value when the problems it solves or opportunities that subsequently arise are considered, and that they have been given the tools and time to make an informed decision and not an impulse buy.

“Should we not consider therefore the detrimental impact stark ‘deals’ might have on the first (and subsequent) impressions our customers have of us? Not only do short-lived deals play into the hands of our human desire for a quick bargain, often at the expense of our careful consideration, but they make consumers question the margin being made overall. ‘If a retailer can do a massive discount today, why couldn’t they offer a moderate discount all year round?’ one might ask.

“We won’t be offering crazy discounts this coming black Friday, but will continue to provide robust and sound advice alongside fair value products and services year-round.”

Katy Brown, Managing Director of Scotgate Mobility

katy brown scotgate mobility“I’m quite cynical about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They are based on American peak shopping dates but adopted here by retailers and online sellers as a convenient pre-Christmas sale period.

“I have a fashion brand as well – Extra Large Clothing – and it is quite a good way to offload end of season stock to make way for new styles.

“In mobility, if you are a big retailer or a chain with an advertising budget to promote it then I’m sure it will bring in additional sales but for a small independent, we would probably just be giving away margin for no reason. I prefer to offer everyday fair pricing.”

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We respect your privacy BarnettAnalysis & InsightsNewsroomRetailer NewsTrade NewsTrade ThoughtsAndrew Finch,Black Friday,Chris Cox,Christmas,Cinque Ports Mobility,Clearwell Mobility,Cyber Monday,Daniel Griffiths,discounts,Easy Living Mobility,Katy Brown Scotgate Mobility,Middletons,mobility retailers,mobility sector,retail,Ricky Towler,sales,trade thoughtThe looming holidays will be on many retailers’ minds, however, before the man sporting a big white beard and red suit enters the frame, retailers across the UK are gearing up for a different kind of holiday and one that is completely rooted in generating sales. Love it or loathe...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals