Your Black Friday Strategy Guide: Grab the Green and Avoid the Red this Holiday Season
Despite a shift to online shopping, a recent NRF poll found that 114.6 million consumers are expected to shop in-store versus 67 million in 2018.
With customers planning to spend an average of $502 on Black Friday up from $472 in 2018, retailers have to be on top of their game. Here is a collection of our best do’s and don’ts for how to make Black Friday bring in the green this Holiday season.
DO: Take a Walk
One of the easiest things to forget amid planning is the actual experience customers will have while in your store. Being that Black Friday brings in customers that may not otherwise patron your store, it is critical to give them an experience that they want to come back for. Take the time to look at where “hot items” are located. Are these easily accessible? Understand the walking pattern customers will follow once inside, is it easy to navigate for someone who has not been to your store prior or will it require assistance? If this is the case, will you have additional staff available in these zones or a map available to customers? Take a look at your queue system near the checkout, is it seamless or a headache?
Each of these questions will identify potential bottlenecks in your customer experience that can weaken your 2020 retail strategy.
DON’T: Extend the Shopping Season
Each year it seems Black Friday ads and savings begin to pop up earlier than the last. While this method of expanding the shopping window has worked for a while for large retailers such as Target, who have begun their sales ads as early as the first week of November, this strategy is not sustainable over time.
By offering highly discounted offerings for such a long period of time, your brand runs the risk of diluting its brand’s image as well as this strategy carrying an expiration date. The season can only be extended so wide before your Black Friday strategy begins to lose its buzz as a shopping holiday. By offering your deals for so long, you are lowering the chances of driving the high volumes of traffic and sales that Black Friday creates as well as creating a learned behavior of high discounts. This creates treacherous waters headed into 2020.
DO: Understand What Deals Your Consumers are Looking For
If customers are going to battle the crowds to make it into your store on the busiest shopping day of the year, you must have something of value to offer. By understanding your customer profile’s shopping list this holiday season you can be sure to carry what they are looking for or risk them skipping your store and heading straight for your competitor’s shop.
Based on a recent polling from BlackFriday.com, consumers are looking for deals on the following in 2019: Clothing (41%); Home Goods/Small Appliances (38%); Tablets/Laptops/PCs/TVs (32%); Smart Home Gadgets & Tech (30%); Toys (25%); and Travel or Experiences (12%).
While it may be tempting to limit quantities of hot items, try to resist the urge to do so. Nobody wants to walk out of a store empty-handed! This could cause them to not to return to your store in the following year if they feel they might miss out again. Be sure to have plenty of these items in stock in a very clearly marked area to best enhance the customer experience.
DON’T: Miss Out on Revamping Training for Associates
Many retailers accommodate their large influx of shoppers around the holidays with the addition of a seasonal salesforce. While this is a great value add to keep customer spirits high, amid the chaos is a frequently missed opportunity to offer customers the highest level of customer service. Taking the time to ensure best practices, such as how to properly ask for an email address, are adequately trained and monitored throughout the holiday season gives a huge boost to loyalty sign-ups that can jumpstart your 2020 retail strategy.
DO: Offer Simple, Painless Returns – receipt resend, lookup
It is no secret that with an influx of purchases comes an influx of returns. With many of these purchases being gifts, it is likely that many will return seeking an exchange. Returns are notoriously a headache for both the associate and the customer, often requiring a receipt the customer may have lost or the inability to resend a receipt. In fact, 74% of people are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too difficult. flexEngage offers the customer both the ability to readily access their receipt digitally as well as lookup and reprint their receipt in-store if necessary, driving home the strong customer experience you have worked so hard to create before the sale!
By leveraging these tips this holiday season you can be sure that your Black Friday sales add a little sparkle to your strategy headed into 2020. Learn more about how flexEngage is unifying both the in-store and online shopping experience HERE.