As the festive season approaches, the retail landscape this year is very different to almost any in living memory. Black Friday signals the busiest shopping weekend of the year, and while high street stores up and down the country have been forced to close their doors, it’s never been so important for businesses to provide a first-class digital experience.

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday originated in the USA and is typically the day after Thanksgiving; the fourth Thursday of November. Black Friday has come to signify the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the United States and around the world; this year, it falls on 27th November. In 2019, Black Friday saw a total of $7.4 billion in online sales in the USA.

Retailers typically run huge promotions and open their doors early in order to lengthen the shopping-day as much as possible. After incidents of widespread crowd control issues, assaults, threatening customers and traffic issues, retailers began running their promotions over the whole weekend and in some cases longer. Some retailers have taken the stance that they will not ‘hold their customers hostage’ with only one or two days of sales, instead planning to offer discounts over the several weeks in the run-up to Christmas. Though this year, with many brick-and-mortar locations being forced to close, the vast majority of spending will take place online.

According to data from Barclaycard, which processes nearly one in every three pounds spent in the UK, 2019 Black Friday sales in Britain were up 16.5% compared to 2018. This increase was echoed by Springboard, which measures footfall data. They found that high-street shopper numbers increased 3.3% YoY as people looked to make the most of the Black Friday discounts.

Whether you’re running day, week or month-long promotions, Black Friday signifies the beginning of the biggest shopping season of the year, and with a decreased physical presence due to the worldwide pandemic, retailers need to make sure their websites and wider digital experiences are up-to-scratch and can handle the increased demand.

Make sure you’re set up

When sales volumes surge, payment service providers and retail finance operators need to make sure their compliance operations are scaled to meet demand. While consumers look to make the most of the Black Friday discounts, banks and payment service providers brace for a strain on payment systems used to facilitate the huge volume of transactions and an increased risk of criminal activity.

On occasions like Black Friday, payment service providers can expect to face a boom in new business relationships and new customer accounts that need to be screened, prior to the provision of payment services. Businesses looking to capitalise on an increased likelihood of transactions need to:

  • Find ways to cope with the surge in payments, whilst maintaining the service levels customers expect.
  • Ensure necessary checks are carried out effectively behind the scenes in order to remain compliant.

Online retailers must also watch out for scams and fraudsters eating into their profits. According to the PYMNTS’ Securing B2B Payments Report, criminals last year successfully made off with $4.2 trillion from the worldwide economy, and around half (54%) of fraudulent incidents in the UK in 2019 were cyber-related.

Businesses need to make sure their systems can not only handle the increased demand, but also efficiently manage any fraudulent activity. At Hello Soda, we’re proud to have provided anti-fraud solutions for a number of global, high-profile clients in over 91% of the world. We’ve worked with innovative businesses that are challenging the norm and finding new ways to protect and provide value for their customers and we’re demonstrating our organisation’s continued commitment to preventing and detecting fraud as an Official Supporter of International Fraud Awareness Week.

Don’t just count on Black Friday; make e-commerce work for you all year round.

How we can help

Meet increased demand and prevent the risk of fraud for your customers with our suite of global identity verification solutions. We offer global verification that takes seconds and all of our solutions are available via our single API, Sodium.

Utilise a single element or multiple processes – it’s entirely up to you. Learn more about how we can help to automate and simplify your verification processes to help you to learn more about your customers. 

Download our Frictionless Future guide to explore what the future holds for customer onboarding:

Frictionless Future - 5-Step Guide


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