Black Friday is a highly anticipated national sporting event for retailers – the Super Bowl of pro-shopping where consumers invade the high streets in search of attractive deals. For many shoppers, getting up before dawn to race to the stores to get the best deals has become a yearly ritual. This race can include skipping out on Thanksgiving dinner, clashing with fellow racers who may impede their stampede to the desired product, verbally abusing sales associates, and completely trashing the store after the mad dash. With higher in-store foot traffic, retailers are preparing for the madness that ensues.
But what is the motivation behind the chaos? Black Friday is popular due to the competitive deals and the frenzied rush of finding such great savings. This year, BlackFriday.com predicts major retailers like Walmart, Target, Amazon, Best Buy and Toys “R” Us will continue to dominate the market as shoppers are expected to flock to these stores on Black Friday. With the rise of mobile and omnichannel touchpoints to engage customers, retailers will be forced to enhance their mobile game by offering apps for Black Friday shopping. From pre-Black Friday deals to doorbusters and flash sales, customers increase, profits increase and the job requirements for store associates increase significantly.
So how can retailers wanting to cash in on the predicted spend of 9.2 billion this year make sure that consumers don’t miss their deals? How can they make their buying experience easier and hassle free? How can retailers prepare their employees and arm them with the tools they need to do more with less time? The answers are firmly rooted in technology, which can help reduce the chaos, make buying simpler and quicker, and increase brand loyalty.
So here are a few tips on how to make sure your store and employees are sufficiently prepared to facilitate the perfect Black Friday experience and exceed customer expectations.
Prepare your staff. Impress upon your staff the importance of Black Friday as a whole. Before the big day arrives, make sure your sales associates know that they’ll be needed on Black Friday. If an employee typically has Friday or Saturday off, check with him or her to determine their availability in case you need additional help on the sales floor. Make sure they are aware of the promotions and sales the store is going to run. If there is a standard percentage off, consider giving them a pricing sheet that lists common price points and the subsequent savings. Keeping your associates constantly in the loop will increase productivity and improve store efficiency.
Update your website. Even if you don’t host an e-commerce storefront, it is imperative to make sure your website is updated with key Black Friday details:
- Special hours: Be sure to list your holiday hours, even if they don’t differ from your normal hours. By clearly defining your store’s hours, this leaves no question in customers’ minds about when they can shop.
- Special deals: If you are offering special deals to your customers on Black Friday, make sure that information is visible to your customers. Even without an e-commerce option, keeping in mind people will still be searching for deals online, having that information on your site gives them a better chance of finding your store.
Make sure your technology is ready. Picture this: your retail store’s entire POS system decided it had had enough during the busiest peak hours on Black Friday. The lines at your register begin to grow out of control; customers become increasingly frustrated and some leave merchandise on the counter without purchasing. You never want this scenario to happen to you. Avoid this by making sure your technology is ready to deal with the highest amount of use possible. You can touch base with your software vendors to ensure your POS is capable of ringing up sales even if the Wi-Fi goes out, or that you are capable of ringing an unlimited amount of transactions.
Making life simple for your customers. Many shoppers will leverage rating sites to help drive their purchase decisions. This year, many customers will consult their phone while in-store, so retailers need to take full advantage of location based technology to combine the intelligence of online shopping with the convenience of physical retail, resulting in a personalized shopping experience.
Beacon technology & in-store Wi-Fi. It’s now possible to target customers as they enter a store and give them informed insights into where in the store the deals on the products they want are. Target is doing just this by creating personalized experiences for customers that mirror online experiences. Once in-store, anyone with an opted-in Target mobile app will activate “Target Run,” a feed of announcements that change depending on where you are. In addition to beacon technology, messages can now be targeted to consumer smartphones connected to the store Wi-Fi. This means that the offers promoted can be tailored to customers based on their location and ultimately collect visitor behavior information.
Black Friday should be a memorable day for everyone in retail, from the store associates to eager shoppers. These tips will help you reduce the chaos and ensure that you provide your customers with the best Black Friday shopping experience to date.
This year, BlackFriday.com predicts major retailers like Walmart, Target, Amazon, Best Buy and Toys “R” Us will continue to dominate the market as shoppers are expected to flock to these stores on Black Friday.