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Expert Q & A

The BFCM Forecast Looks... Sunny?!

November 7, 2021
November 24, 2021
Mae Rice

Despite talk about #Shipocalypse 2.0 and the end of Black Friday, this coming weekend is looking more lucrative than ever for e-commerce — and sales are still the norm, according to Arka founder Phillip Akhzar

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Phillip Akhzar’s 2021 BFCM is already over. 

He’s the founder of Arka, which makes custom, sustainable packaging for e-comm clients — and as a B2B provider, he’s upstream from the biggest shopping day of the year. 

He could fill orders for Black Friday packaging last month, but November stragglers will get unbranded packaging, if anything. 

“They came too late,” Akhzar said.

So, how was Arka’s Black Friday rush — and what does that mean for B2C Black Friday this weekend? Here’s Akhzar’s take.

For e-comm, it looks record-breakingly lucrative. 

This year’s online Black Friday sales will clear $200B, Adobe forecasts — and beat 2020’s record-setting BFCM e-comm revenues by about 10%.

Even when you factor in the 6.2% inflation the U.S. saw from October 2020 to October 2021, that’s YoY growth!  

Tangled supply chains mean higher prices. 

Akhzar felt it in his dealings with paper suppliers this year; Arka had to switch mid-year when their supplier fell behind.

Arka’s entire supply chain is in the States — but clogged ports mean domestic suppliers see surging demand, and raise prices [checks notes] 16X more often than usual?!

“There’s been four prices in the last year, which is tremendous,” Akhzar said. “We typically see one increase in four years.”

But Black Friday sales are still standard. 

We’ve heard rumblings that they might not make sense this year, but Akhzar’s clients are all running BFCM sales.

Arka is even running one, starting Thanksgiving night. “It’s like 101 to be running a sale,” he said. 

This year, a BFCM sale could kickstart holiday demand that you can’t capitalize on, due to supply chain or shipping snafus — but Akhzar still sees it as worthwhile.

Long-term, “it’s a cost of customer acquisition,” he said. 

As long as you communicate clearly and proactively about any holiday season logistical issues, “LTV will make up for it.”

Our takeaway? 

Marketers in e-comm can win big this BFCM following a pretty traditional playbook — as long as they plan ahead and communicate well.

Akhzar estimates that 75% of e-comm teams are ready to do just this. To the unbothered minority flying by the seat of their pants: Good luck this weekend! 😬

Mae Rice
about the author

Mae Rice is editor in chief at MarketerHire. A long-time content marketer, she loves learning about the weird and wonderful feedback loops that connect marketing and culture.

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