Black Friday Help from Google: Yay or Nay?
Black Friday is nearly here and with it comes fantastic prices and the need for retailers to prepare for the swarm of shoppers looking for great deals. While shop frenzy is more common in the USA, Black Friday in the UK has its fair share of bargain hunters too.
To help them succeed in their quest for great deals, Google has added a real-time option to their Popular Times feature, which is available on Google Search and Google Maps – and has been so since July 2015. Popular Times has been used to check how crowded a bar or restaurant is at different times of the week, something that intends to help people decide where and when they should go.
The newly-added real-time option aims to help customers navigate Black Friday better, by allowing them to check how busy shops are in real-life before they actually set foot in them.
The feature uses information sent from Google app users who choose to share their location with the tech company. If Google is not able to gather enough examples, the update will be limited to saying how busy a shop ‘usually’ is. Due to their size, large shops and shopping centres are more likely to showcase real-life data, when compared to small or medium-sized stores.
With this data from Google, shoppers will be able to avoid Black Friday rush at one store and opt for another one instead.
While consumers will no doubt find this useful, it can also present issues. Bryan Roberts, a market researcher at the TCC Global consultancy firm, says that “it could be seen as unwelcome by some retailers because if they are absolutely mobbed, it could put more people off from visiting”.
Also, outside of the UK, Black Friday is likely to happen online and not in physical shops, which can render the feature unnecessary. So, while Google’s real-time feature is incredibly useful for shoppers, especially during the upcoming Black Friday event, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea – and might even harm businesses.
Only time will tell.
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