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  • What Just Happened?! The big black friday black-out

    November 23, 2018 | With Intelligence

    It’s that time of year again. A big black (Friday) cloud of all-consuming consumerism descends, and perfectly respectable people up and down the country are driven to wrestling cuddly-toy carrots from one another in the aisles of discount supermarket chains.

    It’s fascinating to watch it all unfold from the comfortable distance of the Daily Mail’s rolling news updates, but the highs and lows of this year’s Black Friday seemed more pronounced than ever as technology black-outs became the narrative of the day (and week) leading up to this annual retail milestone.

    For those browsing during lunch-breaks, an untimely and unexpected crash of the John Lewis website today left many of us refreshing baskets and browsers without much luck. Never to be found knowingly underselling itself, the Partners website did remind shoppers that although busier than usual, their offers would, of course, also be available in its shops. A stroke of genius marketing deflection, perhaps, but for one of the largest retailers to be foiled in this way on the biggest e-retail weekend of the year, shows just how far we have to travel on the frictionless e-commerce journey.

    John Lewis was far from the only retailer to find itself amidst a Black Friday black-out, however. Both Facebook and Amazon had their fair share of the black-Friday blues this year. In the build-up to the event, Facebook admitted to having significant issues with its ad platform, preventing brands from uploading and posting marketing content. It’s not hard to imagine the frustrations of many digital content managers, missing the opportunity to grab the attention of bargain hunters through the social network at this crucial time of the year.

    And to make a Black Friday even gloomier, Amazon suffered a data leak of customer’s names and email addresses just moments before one of their busiest shopping periods. With data privacy and cyber-security front of mind for many, you’d forgive the security-conscious shopper for being hesitant in this year’s shopping spree.

    Year on year, the death of Black Friday is predicted, and yet it seems that each year it comes back to life bigger and blacker than ever before. However, the scale of this year’s tech black-outs (from ad platforms to data security and everything in between) suggests retailers tech preparedness perhaps needs to be pushed up the agenda to cater for our insatiable appetite for a bargain.