UK SMEs 'underprepared' for Black Friday, say Royal Mail

4th September 2015

The UK’s 4.9 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) remain “underprepared” for Black Friday, according to the Royal Mail.

Last year, consumers spent £810 million online during the Black Friday rush and new Royal Mail research has found that 60% of consumers are already preparing to shop online for this year’s event on 27th November.

Royal Mail issued a statement this week after surveying 250 small business owners. The survey found that “while 95 per cent are making preparations [for Black Friday] of some form, SMEs are not applying all the lessons learnt from last year’s event”.

According to Royal Mail, the most significant hurdles faced by SMEs on Black Friday last year were coping with increased website traffic (48 per cent), stock management (44 per cent), delivering their orders on time or quickly enough (33 per cent) and distributing orders from the warehouse (31 per cent).

The Royal Mail fears the report underlines some existing gaps in Black Friday planning and hopes that these can be addressed in time for the end of November.

“While small business owners are preparing for an influx of web visitors (39 per cent are arranging extra IT capacity), bringing in more staff to prepare orders (40 per cent are employing additional staff) and improving the availability of products (with 55 per cent ordering more stock), nearly two thirds are not preparing for the delivery of customer orders,” a spokesperson for the Royal Mail added.

“Only 38 per cent of SMEs have extended their ‘delivery window’ to allow more time to get deliveries to consumers and just 36 per cent are working with their delivery provider to forecast volumes.

“This means that up to 3.1 million UK SMEs run the risk of not being able to meet their delivery promises and may undermine customer satisfaction on Black Friday.”

Subsequently, Royal Mail is advising SMEs to “work with their delivery provider to forecast volumes for Black Friday and the Christmas shopping period”.

Image: Meaghan O'Malley

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