Exclusive: Sam Muxworthy on surviving Black Friday/Cyber Monday

Published on: 14th January 2021

Former toy buyer Sam Muxworthy contributes her thoughts on her first Black Friday/Cyber Monday as a company owner.

Following toy buyer roles at The Toy Store, Daisy & Tom and Harrods, Sam Muxworthy has recently returned from a stint in Dubai working as the buying manager for Majid Al Futtaim operating Lego Certified Stores and American Girl stores across the Middle East. She now runs her own eCommerce platform:

At the time of writing, Sam was a third of the way through a tin of Quality Street. “This is my reward for surviving my first ever Black Friday/Cyber Monday as an eCommerce start up,” she writes. “Black Friday annoys me – it’s not for us toy people, or is it? Why discount on the prime selling days of the year? Well, I chose not to, yet still had my best weekend of sales to date.”

Although she saw a slight uplift in traffic to her website, it was the increase in the conversion rate which resulted in Sam’s trade tripling compared to the previous weekend. Sam was fascinated to observe how other eCommerce businesses approached the promotional weekend, and weighed up the pros and coms of each strategy, in order to start formulating her own business plan for Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2021.

“Last Summer, I did a survey on pricing. At the time, responders were very happy to pay for gift-wrapping, but paying for shipping was irksome. I think we all know who is to blame for this,” she notes. Since then, she has observed that the Shop Independent campaign has “almost made it a crime to have Amazon Prime boxes in your kerbside recycling.” The success of the campaign has resulted in people being happier to pay shipping fees, as this is a fairly transparent cost of supporting small businesses.

The weekend had its ups and downs; at one stage Sam had so many orders to fulfil that she ran out of shipping boxes, but after Cyber Monday, sales came to an abrupt standstill for a short time. The timing clashed with the English lockdown ending and non-essential shops reopening.

“I went into full panic mode that my eCommerce bubble had burst and I was doomed to spend all of eternity in a living room filled with flat packed cardboard boxes,” explains Sam. “Then sales picked up again and my existential crisis was forgotten.”

To hear more about Sam’s experiences and lessons learned, read the full Viewpoint column which featured in the January edition of Toy World, here.



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