In recent years, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become firmly established with UK consumers as major retail events.

Given the impact of COVID-19 on the retail sector, as an almost entirely virtual event, this year is set to be a very different experience for those shoppers who would usually hit the high streets. PwC's Black Friday Survey has revealed that UK consumers expect to do 88% of Black Friday shopping online this year, up from 77% in 2019. These figures are unsurprising, given that the majority of non-essential shops in the UK are closed until 2 December.

The importance of this period for retailers and logistics firms is unquestionable. For these companies, it’s critical to not only get job postings out and meet headcount requirements for these busy months, but also incorporate seasonal or contingent employees into the organisation. 

How WE can help

GRI’s neutral vendor model is particularly adept at flexing to meet sudden requirements with a proven track record in managing this precise scenario. Whether these are large scale, unplanned surges such as sickness or large scale planned surges during contract mobilisations, our extensive agency reach and ability to move fast is a key reason why hiring organisations choose to partner with GRI.

During the demands of Black Friday, GRI may have to find up to 196.3% more worker hours in just 24 hours. Whilst some of this can be (and is) forecasted for, it is never possible to predict exactly what is required. For example, the peak purchase minute on Black Friday didn’t take place until 4.38pm in 2017, leaving little time to facilitate significant numbers of workers within just a few hours. Despite this we still had a track record of delivering fulfilment levels of 98.5% to 100% from Black Friday into the Christmas peak.

With such an enormous demand at short notice, organisations that deal directly with recruitment agencies for temporary workers, can often fall victim to distress purchases by paying hugely inflated exception rates in order to bring staff on to fulfil activity that otherwise could not happen. Our analysis of invoices from agencies supplying outside of the neutral vendor outsourced agency management model that GRI offers, reveals these costs can often be up to 35% more than usual. For GRI clients, we ensure rates and margins continue to be standardised and regulated despite any pressures.

A key challenge to 100% fulfilment levels is last-minute sickness. At organisations that operate to, or commit to, the tightest of turnarounds, morning and afternoon forecasts run to predict the number of workers that both need to be on key shifts versus those that are now no longer available. The differential between the AM and PM forecast usually varies enormously and can often shift beyond even pre-planned forecasted predictions.

So how do we manage this? This is where our extensive national agency influence makes the significant difference and can ensure candidates are available –without price hikes due to our commercial arrangements with these agencies.

We work in partnership with our clients – to add some predictability into what has been previously thought of as unpredictable. For example, this is where we will:

  1. Review last year’s fulfilment figures, sickness rate and agency performance
  2. Account for any new business won or lost since the previous period and forecasted
  3. Analyse any changes to our clients’ current and forecasted customer profile
  4. Review last year’s volumes
  5. Account for an appropriate increase based on a variety of management information and market intelligence tools – even down to the winter weather predicted.


When your Black Friday peak has passed, the dust has settled, and your KPIs are in, we can help your organisation surpass 2020’s performance in 2021 - without inflating your costs. Tempted to find out more? Contact us to arrange a discussion.

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