Gerhard gets involved in the hype of Black Friday, and reaps the benefits with his best online sales day- ever.

It’s quite phenomenal at what speed certain things catch on. Last year I had hardly heard of Black Friday and this year it was suddenly everywhere, so much so that at the beginning of last week we decided to join the throng of retailers and offer a 20% discount for all goodies from our online shop. It was to be called Konditor & Cook’s “Purple Friday”, in keeping with our plumy corporate colour.

We have a mailing list of a few thousand customers and the offer was pinged to them last Thursday morning. Normally, we don’t get that many orders in the small hours, but by the time I had my breakfast we had already exceeded the total of the same day’s sales the previous year.

And the orders just kept coming. The single most popular item was a box of 12 mince pies. 25% of all orders were for our celebrated pies, and that’s before they had a mention in the Evening Standard as one of the top five pies in London three days later.

I see every one of our mince pies as missionary: The more they are tasted and sampled, the more people will be converted to them. I guess it’s better to have worries around not being able to keep up with demand rather than not getting enough sales.

I once read that eating a mince pie every day of December makes for a prosperous year. Well, it looks to me as if our customers are starting to bank those mince pies to make 2015 a good one, and our newly introduced baking classes were also popular. The day ended with average spend seven times higher than the average spend in our brick-and-mortar shops.

Last year’s sales were typical for a Friday, when orders tend to thin out towards the end of the week. By the time Big Ben chimed midnight (we can hear the bells from our bakehouse in Waterloo) on our Purple Friday, sales had actually risen by a staggering 1022%, making this the best online sales day ever and finishing the whole week up by 153%. Our “Cake Emergency” Hotline phones never went quiet either and racked up a sales increase of 59%.

Some would argue this just brings customer orders forward and reduces margins. For some of the purchases made, this might well be the case, but overall I believe this kind of promotion helps to clinch customer orders and adds to general excitement around Christmas—after all, “A Joyful Christmas” is what we are celebrating this year.