Since the early 2000’s, Black Friday has held its title as the busiest shopping day of the year, and 2019 will prove to be no different. Holiday shoppers reportedly spend $655.8 billion in the last two months of the year, accounting for close to 30% of annual sales for many retailers. Retailers and consumers alike have contributed to making the day after Thanksgiving a national event. With continued popularity of Black Friday shopping, is your retail store prepared to handle the flood of deal hunters? Don’t panic. We have 4 ways to prepare for Black Friday and flawlessly pull off the production of the year.
1. Prep Your Staff
The turkey and stuffing have been prepped and long forgotten about by Black Friday morning. With less days standing between Thanksgiving and the arrival of the man in the big red suit—only 26 this year compared to the 32 of last year—retailers really have to bring their A-game to Black Friday as more shoppers will feel the pressure to get all the items on their lists in a hurry.
To prepare, create a game plan for your staff so they know what to expect. Here are a few key steps you shouldn’t forget:
- Hold staff meetings and training to make sure everyone on the floor is well versed on current policies and procedures.
- As a management team, make sure you are prepared to handle common hiccups such as long lines and out of stock items.
- Hire seasonal staff! The number one mistake retailers can make is not having enough manpower to serve the increased number of customers. Boosting your staff temporarily is a cost-effective way to avoid snags in customer service.
2. Get Your Store in Shape
The last thing hyper-focused shoppers want is to waste time searching for that one product they came for in your store. Black Friday is not a leisurely shopping experience, it’s a “get in and get out” event. Make sure your store is strategically laid out so that shoppers can easily find the most popular gifts of the season. Mark aisles clearly where sought after items are located, and arm high traffic areas with extra staff who can help. Make sure your top sellers are heavily stocked to avoid frustrated customers.
It’s also important to create a festive experience; Black Friday isn’t just a day for deals, it’s also looked at as the official holiday season kick-off. Creating a jolly environment will encourage the more than 50% of shoppers who prefer storefront holiday shopping over awaiting a shipment to shop with you over another retailer or resorting to online.
3. Create the Perfect Promotions
Last year brick-and-mortar traffic fell as much as 9%, while online sales soared. Online shopping is convenient and efficient, and sales continue to rise throughout the entire Black Friday weekend through Cyber Monday. Position your promotions to leverage sales both in-store and online. Use marketing strategies such as email and retargeting to drive online shoppers to your website. Send current customers a curated gift guide and email coupons to drive them into your store. Planning your marketing strategies with enough time to entice your customers to shop with you is an essential and effective way to have a successful Black Friday.
4. Ensure Your Tech is Up-to-Date
Technology plays an important role in holiday shopping, whether you’re shopping for it or retailers are using it to enhance the shopping experience. Updating your technology to prepare for Black Friday sets your business up for success in this busy time. Technology can ease the stress of holiday shopping not only by speeding up the checkout process, but by providing helpful and easy access to information for employees, who can then relay to the customer. Additionally, having your online and in-store inventory updated in real time allows shoppers to know exactly what is available and for how much.
To accomplish this, it is crucial that your business have a POS designed for your retail industry, equipped with the exact features and functions your business needs to handle any crowd. An integrated payment processor is also important to keep the checkout process as simple and streamlined as possible. You may want to consider a wireless handheld and line busting solution to help reduce customer wait times.
If you are among the vast majority of retailers looking to capitalize on Black Friday, preparation is key to your success. The shoppers are coming, will you be ready for them? Contact Auto-Star and discover the technology solutions that will make your business more profitable this Black Friday.