A number of South African companies and consumers are already preparing themselves for Black Friday 2018 – which has quickly become the biggest shopping day of the year in South Africa.
According to BankservAfrica 4.7 million card transaction were processed on Black Friday 2017 – of which 260,552 were online transactions.
This amounted to R2.5 billion worth of debit and credit card retail transactions, up from R2.3 billion in 2016 – twice the daily average, it said.
With these vast numbers in mind, BusinessTech spoke to a number of retailers and experts about how best to prepare yourself for Black Friday 2018.
While Black Friday is set to fall on 23 November 2018, deals will likely extend to the week leading up to, and beyond the official day.
Online retailers are also expected to offer a number of specials on ‘Cyber Monday’, which falls on 26 November in 2018.
According to BankservAfrica, Black Friday shoppers were the most active between 16:00 – 17:00 when 395,791 store transactions were processed.
Black Friday also proved to be more popular than Cyber Monday – 260,552 transactions were cleared on Black Friday compared to Cyber Monday’s 129,458.
The most expensive transaction for Black Friday was valued at R1 million while for Cyber Monday, this was R663,041.
“The sheer size and value of the transactions processed during Black Friday, and the growth experienced on 2016’s figures, reflects the success of this annual shopper’s day,” said Chris Hamilton, CEO of BankservAfrica.
MyBroadband adds that some of the best deals can only be found by waking up early on the day, which starts just after midnight on the morning of Black Friday.
Makro has confirmed to BusinessTech that its preparations for Black Friday 2018 began at least nine months in advance (around February).
Its preparations include the rollout of new technology including a mobile pay-point system which will assist consumers to pay for purchases while standing in the queue.
It also plans to increase the number of staff and security at all stores to better service customers over Black Friday.
For the first time ever, Makro will introduce an online drive-thru service at it’s new Riversands store, enabling customers to collect their online selected items.
Other companies have also confirmed to BusinessTech that their Black Friday preparations began months ago, and will include innovative developments – to be announced closer to the time.
For example, Shoprite is already encouraging users to sign up for a newsletter which will provide all the details on its Black Friday deals.
Increase in rip-offs
While the increased number of shoppers will naturally lead to an increase in incidents of fraud, there are also a number of Black Friday-specific scams to be aware of.
After Black Friday 2017, online travel retailer Travelstart warned that a number of unscrupulous travel agents bought their travel deals, marked up the prices and sold them to unsuspecting consumers.
“It happens often when we run campaigns. The sad thing is that unwitting consumers end up paying a lot more for travel than they should,” said Travelstart’s founder Stephan Ekbergh.
“We were alerted via our customer service channels early in the day, as well as by several bookings that were made in the same email address of South African travel agents known to us.”
“It’s not in the pre-holiday spirit of Black Friday and we have adapted our terms & conditions so that we reserve the right to recharge travel agents who sell our tickets with their own mark-up.”
While Black Friday is often seen as a day for traditional retail and tech purchases, a wide category of stores are expected to offer deals on the day.
Superbalist, MultiChoice and Travelstart have all confirmed to MyBroadband that they will be hosting deals on the day.
For Black Friday 2017 BusinessTech also covered various deals on cars, travel, lingerie, supplements and even tattoos.
South Africans heading to physical retail stores should prepare themselves for big crowds on the day.
While South Africa’s Black Friday deals have never reached the level of those seen in the US (which have sometimes resulted in death), a number of viral videos show the frenzy of Black Friday shopping in South Africa.
To combat this, MyBroadband said it was important to make a list of all the items you want to buy on the day to avoid much of the chaos.