Black Friday events – a good opportunity to drive sales?

Black Friday events – a good opportunity to drive sales?

The recent news that car dealers enjoyed a one-day spike in sales on Black Friday shows how the sales phenomenon that started in the US around Thanksgiving is increasingly being adopted by retail businesses, including dealers, on this side of the Atlantic.

Understandably, many dealers are keen to drive sales where possible. The data from volume and premium brand dealerships across the UK showed a 23% increase in the number of vehicle sales completed on November 25 when compared to the previous Friday.  Vehicle enquiries were also up on the day, with dealers seeing 5% more enquiries on Black Friday than on November 18.

That’s all great news for dealers, however, a word of warning: the data shows that enquiries and sales fell one week later, on December 2, by 13% and 17%, respectively.

We’ve written several blogs recently with advice and best practice on how to run a profitable event weekend. Customer events of any kind are a useful feature on a dealership’s calendar because they create a buzz in the showroom. By offering incentives such as discounts, potential customers are more inclined to make a purchase. But dealers need to ensure they are not staged at the risk of overall profitability.

All too often in a frenzied drive to push sales around an event, prices are repeatedly slashed. While customers will be expecting some discounts, failure to stick to a profitable line can lead to lost opportunities and major set-backs.

This same danger exists with Black Friday too. Indeed, this year, a number of retail stores were hesitant to take part, including one of the early trailblazers, ASDA, in part citing concerns over the wider picture of profitability.

Ultimately, any promotional sales event is only as good as the sales planning, processes and management that underpin it. It is always an idea to refresh your team’s sales technique before any major discounting occurs, by bringing in professional trainers. BTC’s ‘Road to the Sale’ programme, for example, provides guidance on building customer relationships and demonstrating a winning sales attitude that doesn’t lose sight of strategic sales goals.

So while Black Friday may present dealers with a promotional opportunity in the future should the trend continue, it will be one that requires careful management.