In today's consumer culture, Black Friday is undeniably one of the most important days of the year for retailers large and small across most industries. As such, it's not an event that can be planned at the last minute. With just two weeks left until Thanksgiving Day, it's time to prepare your store, employees and marketing materials.
While you gather the necessary resources to reap profits this Black Friday, look over this checklist to be sure you haven't missed any essentials.
- Where will the hot-selling items be arranged for store displays? Consider the inventory you expect to be popular, especially the merchandise you're marking down, and plan the best way to present it. There should be enough space for plenty of shoppers to maneuver around it, an arrangement that's easy to refresh as customers sift through the piles and expansive store fixtures to accommodate demand.
- Is your website designed for optimal mobile and tablet display? Forbes magazine compiled statistics to report that webrooming will be even more popular this year than in the past, with roughly 85 percent of shoppers browsing the Internet before and during shopping trips. Additionally, the customers who check products out online are 40 percent more likely to make a purchase than people seeing your merchandise for the first time in-store.
- How effective is your signage? Make sure your special Black Friday deals are neatly and prominently displayed in the store with attractive sale signs.
- Do you need to hire seasonal staff? Often stores onboard a handful of extra employees in preparation for Black Friday and the following month of shopping mania. You may want to advertise positions to college students who will be home for the season, or allow current staff to suggest friends or family to help. Although it's probably not worth going through the entire onboarding process with them, these temporary employees should be trained well enough that they don't stand out as uninformed.
- Is everyone comfortable answering questions about merchandise? Both year-round and seasonal employees should be well-versed in the product selection so they can effectively assist customers. This includes knowledge of inventory organization and the best person to consult when they're faced with a question they don't know.
- Have crowd control tactics been reviewed? According to the National Retail Federation, each member of your staff should given tips for crowd management and customer conflict resolution. The source suggested placing an experienced employee in charge of crowd control to prevent any issues or injuries.
- Do you have a multimedia mix? Social media marketing is essential this year, even more so than last year as an increasing number of people download apps. Make sure you have exciting and effective posts prepared for the weeks leading up to Black Friday, as well as attention-grabbing updates to blast out during the event. Don't forget about email newsletter promotions, word-of-mouth and video integration in the planning process.
- Are there opportunities for cross-promotions? Considering most businesses will be running a Black Friday event, it's an excellent opportunity to use fusion marketing with another local store. Find a way to advertise for each other during the holiday season, whether it's through word-of-mouth referrals or useful coupons.
- Is discounted delivery an option? Whether you make online sales or stick to brick-and-mortar purchases, delivery service is an attractive addition to your business during the holiday season. Determine if you can financially swing free or reduced shipping costs for the important shopping weekend and if so, be sure all of the details are in place for a seamless delivery operation.