With retail sales for the last 3 months dropping well below previous years and in the aftermath of a hard economic outlook in Tuesday’s Budget speech, today’s Black Friday sales will be critically important for British business.
UK consumer confidence appears to be low.
The high street (and, it appears, everyone else) has gone online to try and open our wallets, using the excuse of an American holiday festival to encourage our spending.
I’ve been keeping my eye on a new monitor for my desk in The Bunker for over 6 months now – I use a 12″ Macbook and there are few that will engage with Apple’s new USB-C connection. Acer have one (with good reviews on Amazon – note yesterday’s post about reviews) that retails at £449.99 on their web site.
Yesterday, the price on Amazon descended to £299.99 and, before emerging from my room at The Dalmahoy (Edinburgh) for day #7 with Sheila Scott and Practice Plan, I pressed the order button (it’s due later today and I’m excited).
Incidentally – there were 10 in stock at Amazon on Monday, 6 in stock when I ordered 24 hours ago – and none this morning – they have all gone. So there’s £1800 of business that Amazon have secured.
Question – how much will you be spending today as part of a Black Friday promotion?
With over 100 people at Thursday’s workshop, there was a significant show of hands when I asked that question.
So maybe the hesitancy of recent months indicates that we are becoming sage shoppers, waiting for the big “event days” before we part with our hard-earned cash?
At Wednesday’s ASDP meeting I pondered the same point and one canny member of the audience suggested I should wait until after Christmas to buy my monitor, on the basis that a poor retail result today would encourage deeper discounting.
I didn’t and this morning’s “out of stock” message has made me feel better about that.
Perhaps shopping has now become a combination of fulfilling our desired outcomes and delaying gratification – an interesting balancing act.
How does this affect British dentistry (and, for that matter, the global homogenised consumer market)?
The next 4 weeks will tell a story.
For some dental practices it will be record-breaking sales figures in the mad rush to get treatment completed before Christmas.
For others it may be a sense of bewilderment as patient purchasing decisions are delayed and deferred.
May I suggest that the primary difference between those two experiences will have little to do with the demographic of your patient list and everything to do with CONFIDENCE:
with which you internally market yourselves;
with which you deliver your patient experience;
with which you discuss treatment options with patients;
with which you ask for the money (the full price);
with which you deliver the treatment;
with which you deploy your end of treatment protocol and engage every patient as an ambassador for your business;
with which your team deliver long-term care.
I didn’t need a relationship with either Acer or Amazon to buy my monitor, I simply needed to be CONFIDENT that it would do the job (technical spec and reviews) and wait for the right price.
I do need a relationship with the people in my dental practice if I’m going to purchase dentistry.
You had better be able to make me feel CONFIDENT about spending my money with you in the next 4 weeks – there are too many temptations elsewhere right now.
Fingers crossed High Street Britain.