Leavening the gloom

As the clocks go back, the nights draw in and life generally seems to slow down in line with our circadian rhythms. All of a sudden, November is upon us. For many, this is far from our favourite time of year. The lights and sparkle of Christmas are still weeks away, the days seem dank and damp, and we get up in the dark and go to bed in the dark. Like moles. 

However, depending on your point of view, there’s one annual event looming which may leaven the gloom. Black Friday – historically an American phenomenon to extend the collective festivities around Thanksgiving – is on the horizon. Traditionally celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is closely followed by Black Friday, which marks the start of the Christmas shopping season in the US. Or that’s what it used to mean. Today, the UK has wholeheartedly embraced Black Friday and its counterpart, Cyber Monday. It’s also popular across Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Italy, Greece, New Zealand, India, Norway, Sweden, France, Spain, Brazil, Mexico and increasingly many other parts of the world. 

What’s all the fuss about?

What is Black Friday? Black Friday is named thus, deriving from the concept that businesses finally move from the red (operating at a financial loss) into the black (operating at a profit) on the day after Thanksgiving due to the massive sales. There are great bargains to be had with highly promoted sales offering goods at discounted prices. And the sales start earlier and earlier. Excitement builds around midnight on Thanksgiving when the doors of many shops open. Some open even earlier, on Thanksgiving itself. So far so good. But the picture is rather more complex. Close observers point to the fact that prices are artificially inflated months before Black Friday and then brought down back in line with the previous non-sale price, claiming to offer great savings. This will obviously please the cynics and haters of rampant consumerism among us. There is no doubt some smoke and mirrors going on at this time of year in the retail sector, but it’s also true to say some great bargains are to be had. Even if Black Friday pictures of masses of shoppers literally brawling over huge TVs in an enormous warehouse somewhere at midnight are hardly edifying. 

Explosive e-commerce

Cyber Monday follows hot on the heels of Black Friday. Cyber Monday is basically a marketing term for the explosion in e-commerce transactions which comes to a head the Monday after Black Friday. It was born in 2005, following recognition that shoppers continued to spend post the Black Friday event and is now marketed as a 24-hour shopping event when retailers offer huge online discounts. Outselling Black Friday in all kinds of numbers, it’s the most important annual event for online retailers. Imagine the importance of the tech behind those online e-commerce platforms. The difference between trading in the red and trading in the black, the actual survival of the business, may well depend on it. 

Contract Insight – serial not seasonal

When it comes to contract management, you need tech that you can rely on. Not only that, you need tech that offers you value for money, not gimmicks, every day of the week.   Contract management software from Four is exactly this. Contract Insight can help you streamline your working day, and automate your practices. Which in an uncertain world is exactly the anchor you need to free you up so that you can focus all your energies on the task at hand. Real-time visibility into contracts can help you manage complex processes so that you can make informed decisions about your organisation’s future. And paperless, cloud-based digital solutions are better for the environment. Contract Insight’s flexibility and functionality can help ensure your enterprise meets the changing regulatory standards which are driven by external events.

If you’d like to find out more about how Contract Insight can help your business, we’d be delighted to talk to you. Why not get in touch? To find out how contract management software can streamline your operations, contact John O’Brien, CEO at Four Business Solutions, global business consultants and software integrators specialising in business process improvement. 

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