Black Friday signals the beginning of the Christmas shopping frenzy for many people. For retailers, it’s a chance to grow their sales and attract new customers.
In 2016, retailers experienced a strong growth in sales, particularly on the days leading up to Black Friday. An estimated £1.2 billion was spent online on the day itself (12.2 per cent more than in 2015), and during the Black Friday peak period, which lasted a week, consumers spent £6.45 billion.
So, if you’re taking part in this year’s Black Friday on 24 November, here are some tips from Andy Richley, marketing manager at the ERP software company Khaos Control.
Analyse past performance
No matter how well Black Friday has gone for you in the past, there are bound to be ways you can improve, so your preparation should start with analysing your past performance.
What worked for you and what didn’t go so well? Were their parts of your business that struggled to cope on the day? Black Friday can put an unprecedented demand on your business operations, so you need to know where your weak spots are. Also analyse what products attracted the most sales and which ones were most profitable.
If you’ve never taken part in Black Friday before, you can look at how others performed on the day instead.
Decide on your discounting strategy
Be as strategic as possible about what discounts you offer, or else you may find Black Friday is not worth the effort it takes. Perhaps you over-discounted on some products, or your competitors had much more attractive offers.
Black Friday is a good opportunity to shift old stock or draw attention to new product lines. Or, perhaps you have a particular brand that will generate a huge buzz if it goes on sale.
Promote your offers
It’s no good putting together a brilliant Black Friday sale if your customers don’t know about it, so make sure you factor promotion into your plans. Tell your existing customers about the sale in emails and on your website. You can attract new customers by using online advertising and getting your sales featured in relevant publications. You can also create excitement about the day by giving a teaser of what will be on offer. Or, you could open up the sale to your most loyal customers first.
Test your website
Black Friday has increasingly become an online phenomenon, which means you need to make sure your website is up to the challenge. Test your site to check it can cope with the extra load it will need to handle. More shoppers are now using mobile phones for shopping, so your site needs to be mobile friendly.
It is also important to make sure you have a back up plan in case things don’t go smoothly. Perhaps you’ll need extra customer support to help take sales if they can’t be completed online. Social media is a great way of keeping customers up to date, so your staff don’t have to constantly deal with calls.
Plan your deliveries
In the run up to Christmas, you are bound to need to handle extra orders, so your delivery network needs to be prepared.
Customers don’t like being left in the dark about where their deliveries are, so have a plan in place to keep them informed. Set their expectations about delivery times beforehand, by clearly spelling out your lead times online.
Prepare your staff
All your staff members are probably going to be impacted by the day in one way or another, so make sure you communicate with them and keep them well informed about their role. Working under extra pressure can be tough, so think about how you can show your appreciation for the extra effort they’ll need to put in.
Some teams like customer service are likely to be under more pressure than others, so you might need to consider getting temporary staff to support them.
Black Friday can be a particularly busy and stressful time for retailers but if you get your planning right, it can be one of your most successful periods too.