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Black Friday boom or bluff? (And tips for traders)

As Black Friday approaches retailers and consumers are bracing themselves for another shopping frenzy, writes JJ DELGADO.



Black Friday is recognised around the world as a modern phenomenon, mainly associated with online shopping, however it all started in the USA as early as the late 19th Century when two speculators created a disruption in gold prices that caused a stock market crash. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s when people began to use the Friday after Thanksgiving to start their Christmas shopping. Then in 1966, the term Black Friday became more widely known, when the Philadelphia Police Department used it to define the chaos and traffic congestion caused by shoppers on this day.

Nowadays, Black Friday is a massive retail event often associated primarily with online shopping, although brick and mortar stores also experience a marked increase in customer traffic. Retailers use an extensive range of online and offline tools and resources to enhance sales and improve customer acquisition in what has become one of the greatest days for online deals. Amazon has been at the forefront of Black Friday’s online success and was responsible for bringing Black Friday to Europe. In 2017, Amazon took 54.9% of all Black Friday online transactions. (Source: Hitwise)

My personal experience of Black Friday at Amazon UK in 2015 was one of the highlights of my career and allowed me to be a key player as Head of Amazon Deals Programme for UK, on the day with the highest number of international sales in Amazon’s history. (Source: BBC News) The incredible success of this day was the result of 6 months of hard work, negotiating the best deals from brands and retailers, ensuring a high number of quality deals with great discounts, coordinating digital marketing strategies, creating high impact media coverage and ensuring that IT infrastructures were in place so that the platform was ready for the surge of e-commerce traffic.

So, the question remains… Does Black Friday really improve business or is it just an over-hyped publicity stunt?

Well, the answer to this depends on how you work it, or to put it simply… “You reap what you sow.” Black Friday may only be one day in the year but the negotiations and preparations that lead up to this day can determine whether it is a true success or not, both for the brand and the consumer. The success of Black Friday in recent years has led to an extension of this shopping bonanza with the addition of Cyber Monday, on the Monday after Black Friday, which focuses on online deals. In a bid to maximise the customer’s eagerness for bargains, many retailers around the globe begin the build-up to Black Friday up to a week before, with tempting offers to whet the customer’s appetite.

Black Friday has evolved with the retail industry, maximising online and offline consumer trends to reach a seamless shopping experience but basically it is an event created by retailers, for retailers. There are several fundamental factors that have made Black Friday the phenomenon that it is today:

The date

The fact that Black Friday falls in November is no coincidence. November was traditionally a low month in sales, with shoppers saving their money for Christmas shopping. Many consumers now buy Christmas presents with discounts on Black Friday and this spreads the flow of shoppers, helping to make staffing and people management in stores easier. Also, with November being in Q4, it is a good time for balancing financial results and making up for any shortfalls experienced during the year.

The deals

Black Friday stands out from other sales periods because of the vast array of deals available in almost every retail environment. The effect is contagious and customers are hungry for bargains. Months of planning and negotiating go into finding the best deals and providing the greatest discounts. Customers have a huge amount of information at hand and online shoppers are very “tech-savvy”, instantly checking to see if deals are real or not. Price tracking sites such as show the pricing history of a product and quickly reveal if a product’s price has been inflated.

Media buzz

The mediatic impact of Black Friday is carried by powerful advertising that spread through social media like wildfire. The buzz generated by the media builds up anticipation to the point that customers often feel compelled to make purchases even without a real need. There is a social element to it that attracts customers, whether it be to physical stores or from the comfort of their own home, as well as the consequent social media feedback that it generates.

Stock clearance

Black Friday is a great way to clear old stock and make way for new products. This is especially relevant in electronics and technology, where products age very quickly and the stock can become obsolete if it is not shifted before the launch of the next model. Video game consoles and mobile phones are prime examples of the customer’s need to get the latest model and the announcement of new launches generates high expectation, causing present models to be perfect candidates for tempting discounts.

Brand awareness

Black Friday is a great opportunity to create brand awareness. Customers are in a shopping mood and are very receptive to new deals and high impact advertising. The audience is there, ready and waiting, to see what is on offer for them, with many people even taking time off to shop. Brands can seize on the mood of the customer to introduce new products or to offer great deals on established ones. Shoppers looking for Christmas presents don’t always have a clear idea of what they want and so they are more open to browse through deals in search of inspiration. The ease of online shopping and the fact that it has become such an easy process for customers, especially the younger generations, also incites impulse buys that are made by shoppers who get caught up in the shopping frenzy.

Read on on for top tips for online retailers:

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Appdate: No wallet? No problem?

In his app roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights VodaPay Masterpass, Charge Running, South African App Integrator Directory, uKheshe Health and LocTransie.



VodaPay Masterpass

Digital mobility is now a way of life and most are using smartphones to pay bills. 

To meet this need Vodacom and Mastercard have launched VodaPay Masterpass, which enables Vodacom customers to load any bank card into a secure digital wallet, downloaded as an app on their smartphone. Once loaded, these cards and the secure credentials associated with them are safely stored, enabling customers to start transacting immediately without the hassle of entering card details each time they make a purchase.

Vodacom customers can buy prepaid data, airtime and SMS, or voice bundles, directly through the app. They can also select the Pay Bills menu option to settle their DStv accounts, pay a utility bill or take care of a traffic fine.

With the app’s Scan to Pay functionality, users can scan a QR code to pay for goods and services wherever Masterpass is accepted, including all SnapScan and Zapper merchants. Once a QR code is scanned, users select the card they wish to use, and enter their bank PIN number on their own device to complete the transaction.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download and users will not be charged for any transaction fees.

Stockists:  Download VodaPay Masterpass for iOS here and for Android here.

Charge Running

Most running apps track data like pace and distance and, in some cases play audio designed to motivate you, but don’t give you the push you get when you run with a friend. Charge Running is an app that lets you run alongside other runners, virtually, as well as giving live coaching to help you go the distance.

The app includes features such as:

·       Unlimited access to live running classes and virtual races  

·       The ability to compete with runners anywhere in the world in real-time

·       A live leaderboard that shows where you are in the pack to keep you pushing

·       Live, personalised feedback from professional trainers 

·       Group chats with coaches and fellow runners throughout the run

·       On-demand runs for times when you can’t join the live groups 

·       A choice of difficulty levels and race types 

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free seven-day trial; thereafter R150 per month

Stockists: Visit the Charge Running site here for downloading instructions.

South African App Integrator Directory

The South African App Integrator Directory from Xero is designed to solve the complexity of choosing apps for small business owners.

The directory is now available in South Africa with six partners, including Realm Digital, Radical Cloud Solutions, Nimacc, Insights, Iridium Business Solutions and Creative CFO. According to Xero, these are all organisations with a proven track record of successfully integrating marketplace apps into Xero businesses. There are also currently over 700 apps in Xero’s App Marketplace worldwide, 21 of which are South African born.

As small businesses become more tech-savvy, they need to know exactly which apps to install on their devices and how the apps will help them. They also need to be able to install these apps from a trusted integrator so they know for what they are paying. 

Platform: Any device with an up-to-date Internet browser.

Expect to pay: A one month trial version is offered, after which the App Integrator ranges from R125 to R245 per month, depending on the company’s needs.

Stockists: Visit Xero here for downloading instructions.

Click here to read about uKheshe Health and LocTransie.

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Prize offered for drone films



DJI and SkyPixel, the world’s most popular aerial photography community, have announced the first short film contest inviting users to submit cinematic stories shot with camera and gimbal products. The 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest will accept entries until 14 October 2019. It welcomes submissions from all creators, ranging from hobbyists to social media users and professional videographers. around the globe.


The 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest consists of three storytelling categories—‘Big Moments Start Small,’ ‘Make Your Move’ and ‘Adventure Starts With You.’ There is no restriction on the type or brand of equipment participants use, and they can submit as many videos as they wish.

A total of 100 winners can win a range of prizes totaling $48,600 USD in categories including Recommended Films, Best Editing, Best Story, Nominated Entries, People’s Choice Prize as well as This Week’s Most Popular, sponsored by the partner SanDisk and WD brand from Western Digital Corp. This year’s Best Short Video winners will each receive the new Ronin-SC Pro Combo, Osmo Action as well as WD 2TB My Passport Wireless SSD.

Winning entries will also be showcased on the SkyPixel website as well as to DJI’s millions of fans and followers across its social media platforms.

“DJI has redefined how people capture stable video for all of life’s moments. The compact size, portability and powerful imaging system of our Osmo and Ronin series have also made it possible for anyone to take their creativity and inspirations to the next level,” said Basile David, Director of Brand and Content Partnerships at DJI. “With this contest, we hope to encourage more people to embrace and share their own creative way of storytelling.”

Since 2014, the SkyPixel online community has attracted 16 million professional aerial photographers and content creators from more than 140 countries, growing into the largest aerial photography community today. Over the past five years, SkyPixel has received over 150,000 submissions, becoming a go-to platform for original aerial masterpieces and extraordinary footage powered by other gimbal products focusing on various themes.

Details of the 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest

The short film contest consists of three categories:

Big Moments Start Small: Create a video showcasing the small, lightweight design of your camera device and your best cinematic scenes. Users are recommended to include at least 10 seconds of behind-the-scenes clips of their product such as DJI Osmo Pocket or other devices.

Make Your Move: Create a video showcasing the stabilized footage from your device. Users are recommended to include at least 10 seconds of behind-the-scenes clips of their product such as DJI Osmo Series or other devices.

Adventure Starts With You: Create a short, cinematic narrative film to showcase your creative skills and visual effects. Users are recommended to include at least 10 seconds of behind-the-scenes clips of their product such as DJI Ronin Series or other devices.

*Video submissions should not be longer than three minutes in length.

Submission Details

Submission Start Date: August 15, 2019, 2:00 AM (EST)

Submission End Date: October 14, 2019, 2:00 AM (EST)

Award Announcement: October 31, 2019

Interested participants can visit the 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest website for more information on contest rules and guidelines. For more information, contact:

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