Neglecting to plan for Black Friday is like going rock climbing without ropes—it makes something that’s already difficult a whole lot harder. Black Friday is one of the most intense shopping days of the year, and the outcome for retailers can be spectacular or stressful depending on how well they're prepared. Set yourself up for success this holiday season with these seven simple steps.
1. Start as Early as Possible
It's not possible to plan for Black Friday a day or even a week before. You must start making plans as soon as possible (right now, ideally). At a time of year when record sales are possible, no retailer can afford to lose customers simply due to lack of foresight.
2. Re-Calibrate the Staff Mix
Responding to the Black Friday rush might require more staff, staff working on different schedules, or staff with specific types of expertise. Determine the staff mix you need early, but be sure to avoid packing your store with associates. Having too many people can crowd the store or cut into your bottom line. Review the sales data in your POS to see which staff members have been driving the most sales and make sure they're working the busiest hours during your sales events.
3. Update Stores and Signage.
If you want customers to treat Black Friday like a special occasion, you must reflect that in the store. Change the store layout to direct traffic to the best Black Friday deals. This is the best time of year to upgrade your store with endless aisle software to really show off top products and prices. With an endless aisle, you can be sure to add to your in-store shopping pathways to highlight special promotions and even to manage the crowd (goodbye customers waiting for sales staff!). For instance, if you have sales racks in multiple locations in your store, you can use an endless aisle solution to direct customers to the products they're looking for, even if they're not physically in-store.
4. Offer Amazing Deals
Black Friday is all about getting discounts, and customers brave the crowds because they expect to save big. Sales and promotions are a great way to attract shoppers, but be sure to calculate discounts in a way that does not hurt the bottom line. Some retailers have also found success by garnering enthusiasm about, or offering better support for, specific products rather than competing to offer the lowest prices. You should inform customers of these deals well in advance. Review your CRM data to see which customers respond best to email or text message campaigns, and target these consumers accordingly through their preferred channels.
5. Leverage Omnichannel Tactics
Many people think about shopping on Black Friday but don't want to leave the house. An omnichannel approach to sales allows retailers to attract eager buyers no matter where they are located. Your e-commerce platform should inform customers of special in-store discounts, while your store staff should let customers know that they can continue their shopping experience online or in-app to make additional purchases. Make sure your messaging is consistent across your brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce platforms, so that both buyer journeys contribute to a larger, positive experience.
6. Make it Easy to Buy
Customers are eager to shop on Black Friday, but they aren’t eager to endure a tedious or hectic purchasing process. No discount can make up for a long wait at the checkout aisle. It is in everyone's interest to make it as quick and easy as possible to complete a sale. That means having a great POS system like RQ cell phone store POS that allows for mobile checkout throughout the whole store, and enough employees to staff all the POS devices.
7. Learn From Past Black Fridays
Examining both empirical data and anecdotal examples can reveal a lot about the success or failure of past Black Fridays. Review your sales and staffing data from your POS to perfect your plan. If you don’t use the data you have from past years, you could miss out on offering the right deals or attracting the best customers.
Once Black Friday is all planned out, don't forget to plan for the next sales holidays, too. Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday follow close on the heels of Black Friday. Both offer similar opportunities to stimulate sales, and many of the necessary plans and resources will overlap. By setting yourself up to win on Black Friday, you'll be in better shape to handle the sales spikes over the rest of the holiday season.
Success on Black Friday requires the strongest, smartest, and most seamless solutions on the market. Consult with the team at iQmetrix to learn how to upgrade and enhance your store.
Photo Credits: Shutterstock / Hadrian, Shutterstock / Giannis Papanikos, Shutterstock / Hadrian