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Streamline checkouts for Black Friday

Streamline checkouts for Black Friday

With Black Friday little more than two weeks away, shoppers and retailers alike are gearing up for what may be the earliest sales on record. According to USA Today, Walmart will be opening its doors sooner than ever before, on the evening of Thanksgiving, and the superstore won’t be alone. Among the other businesses that will kick off sales on the Nov. 28 are Macy’s, Best Buy and Target. The companies’ decisions were mostly likely due to last year’s record Black Friday numbers, which totaled around $59.1 billion in sales over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to CNN.

Although such news may increase optimism among retailers, it likely also raises concerns about store crowding. Here are some tips you can use to prepare your store so you’re ready for the holiday rush, particularly at checkout time:

Spread out the crowd
When it comes to managing large groups of people, crowd control store fixtures are a retailer’s best friend. Utilize temporary guardrails that show customers where they should stand. Depending on the theme of your store’s design, you may prefer features in sleek black or a brighter white, and opt for either retractable belt-style borders or a chain link appearance. For increased stability, attach crowd control items directly to your walls with a hanging receptacle.

Location, location, location
When considering placement, remember that the more efficiently you situate your queue, the more floor space you’ll have to display and sell merchandise. If your checkout counters are mobile, move them somewhere that is close to the exit, and run the queue line away from the door. This creates a natural flow of traffic, and prevents customers from experiencing congestion at the store’s entrance. Given the choice between fighting a crowd or comfortably walking through your shop’s doors, patrons won’t need to think twice about where to go.

When deciding how to extend the queue line from the checkout area, you have several options in terms of placement, and some are more efficient than others at maximizing space. Perhaps the most popular options include a snaked queue, which wraps back and forth in front of the cashier counters. Although it certainly uses space efficiently, such a design may increase customers’ feelings of being packed together, and higher volume in a small area could create a jarring atmosphere. For a less crowded effect, try running the queue around the edges of the shop, out of the way of shoppers as well as other people waiting in line.