The winter holidays, one of the biggest shopping seasons for retailers around the world, are just around the corner. Customers are already getting in the shopping mood; in many countries, Black Friday will soon inaugurate the season.
This year, Black Friday is expected to be third biggest day of the holiday season – and it is fast approaching. Some retailers, like Walmart, clearly can’t wait for the day to arrive, and are already giving shoppers a taster of the deals to come. What about you? Is your store ready for the shopping marathon?
While you still have a few days to spare, make sure that you have worked on these three important fronts to be all set for the holiday frenzy.
1. Promote your deals!
The latest National Retail Foundation’s (NRF) Holiday Forecast revealed that sales and discount prices will the number one factor that will lead customers to your store this holiday season. So make sure that shoppers are aware of the great deals your offer! Post youroffers on all your social platforms, and don’t forget to link back to your site so that it’s easy for your customers to find all the information they need – and to buy your products, too! Today social media like Facebook offer pretty sophisticated promotional features which enable you to target a large number of potential customer with your ads. You can set a number of parameters, such as location, gender, age and preferences. If you know your target market very well, there are great opportunities, especially during the holiday season when people are particularly open to receiving shopping suggestions (last holiday season, 77 percent of consumers shopped in stores or websites where they don’t usually shop!).
Grab the opportunity of black Friday to get more people to sign up for your email list. Give a special deal for signing up to your newsletter and you will have the chance to promote your future offers and expand your circle of customers.
Make sure you don’t overcomplicate it! If you offers sound something like “Buy One and Get One Free plus Free item if you spend over $20! Plus 10% off if you pay with loyalty card”, you risk confusing your customers rather than enticing them. Keep your deals simple: you want them to be clear and memorable.
Most importantly, promote deals that are different from your competitors’. You could for example have a great offer on a niche or novelty product that is not typically an item you see on sale – for many customers Black Friday is not just about buying what is cheapest, it is about getting great deals.
2. Be well equipped!
The last thing you want to see in your store on Black Friday is a long line of customers who cannot be served because you have not invested in proper sales equipment. Make sure that you have enough POS devices. The best retail management software solutions enable retailers to grow and shrink the number of POS devices at will, so that they can face peak season confidently. Truly flexible systems also insure that the extra POS can be connected seamlessly, saving retailers many hours of paperwork trying to align the sales from different devices.
Stock up on the small but easy-to-forget items, such as paper for receipts, and do not forget about the rest of your store! Make sure that you have enough toilet paper, bags for trash and even lightbulbs – you wouldn’t want to lose sales because the light went off in the fitting room or stockroom.
Always have a backup plan in case something decides to stop working! Is your Point of Sale equipped to deal with network outages? The best POS systems work both online and offline, so you can keep on selling your products and serving your customers even when the network connection is down.
3. Prepare your staff!
Black Friday is stressful for everyone, and especially for temporary staff, who may not be ready for the mayhem and tears. You can prevent worst-case scenarios by providing your employees with tools to tackle unpleasantness. Make a planto deal with uncomfortable situations and clarify to your staff that when problems arise, they are not alone. Give your staff all the information they need to answer questions from customers: when everyone knowns what’s where, what the terms and conditions are and who is responsible for what, service will be much faster and smoother. Having a pre-made script with answers and information will also make your staff more comfortable with promoting and selling your wares.
Consider devoting some extra employees to directing people in line and to prevent fights over the unavoidable shoppers trying to cut in line. Extra employees may also be necessary to keep the store neat and pretty throughout the chaos.
Most importantly, make sure your staff stays hydrated, and has time to eat and get a break. Keeping your employees relaxed and smiling is crucial in order to get through Black Friday. Stock up on water bottles, have a solid lunch and bring snacks or fruits they can eat if they feel their energy levels dropping.
Black Friday can be chaotic and nerve-wracking, but if everyone (tech included!) does their best it can become a day to remember – and a great start to the holiday season!
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