Retailers must have an omni-channel strategy in place if they are to make the most of this record breaking Black Friday

With Black Friday drawing closer, new research has revealed that online sales are set to reach a record breaking £1 billion. However, retailers must make sure their online and in-store operations are in-sync and up to scratch when bargain hunters descend on shops and websites this Black Friday. If not, retailers risk losing out on huge sums of money, mobile commerce expert Dan Wagner warns.

A study by ecommerce consultancy Salmon predicts that online orders on Black Friday are expected to grow by 17.6 per cent in comparison to the previous year, which will result in a rise of £150m to reach the record breaking £1 billion online sales barrier for the first time. In a survey by consumer insight company eDigital, 30 per cent of respondents also said they planned to buy online on Black Friday, compared to eight per cent of shoppers last year. The growing interest in online shopping on Black Friday has been attributed to its increased media attention as well as changes in consumer habits.

Retailers will need to anticipate the peak times of purchasing on Black Friday, to avoid straining their online operations and ensure the best experience for customers. They will also need to provide the very best omni-channel experience to their customers, to ensure that shoppers have as many options as possible to purchase items. Some of the issues that occurred on Black Friday last year included multiple national retailer sites going down, slow browse navigation and online queues – something that online shoppers sought to avoid in the first place.

Dan Wagner CEO and founder of Powa Technologies, comments: "The peaked interest in Black Friday comes at a time where consumers are increasingly prioritising ease of purchasing over all other aspects of shopping. It makes sense that more consumers are turning online for their shopping experience. Retailers need to put an ear to the ground, especially on Black Friday, and work on maximising the ease of access for shoppers, along with responding promptly to any customer enquires. They must have contingency plans in place to meet any potential problems."

He adds: "Nowadays consumers no longer want their high-street shop to start at the actual high-street, they want the full experience of interacting with their items of interest, anywhere, anytime, at the touch of a button. In order for retailers to deliver this experience, firms should invest in the omni-channel experience and look to mobile and tablet devices to improve how customers interact with brands when shopping. Retailers with strong omni-channel strategies will be the ones to watch in future, as they will deliver a seamless experience - integrating the online and offline worlds and enabling shoppers to purchase products quickly and efficiently via any platform."

A mobile commerce platform such as PowaTag enables retailers to adapt to such situations and consumer demands by transforming any point of contact into an opportunity for instant transaction. After downloading the free app, customers can complete transactions in seconds with pre-stored payment information. PowaTag gives shoppers the power to complete purchases using an array of triggers, including scanning print material, Bluetooth beacons, audio tags and social media.

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