With the holidays fast approaching, many retailers are wondering how they should begin preparing for another busy shopping season.
For many retailers, Black Friday—the day after Thanksgiving—is the most anticipated day of the year. Millions of shoppers flock to the stores or surf the web to grab the best deals on everything from couches to computers. It used to be that Black Friday was a single day production – but now the chaos extends for months. And the numbers bear it out: on average, shoppers spend $655.8 billion in November and December, accounting for as much as 30 percent of annual sales for many retailers.
With the holiday season almost upon us and so much on the line, it’s important that retailers start planning now. Here’s how:
Rally the troops
So, where to start? Well, the first step needed to prepare for a large influx of customers is pretty simple: make sure you’ve got the manpower. Hiring temporary staff is a cost-effective way to boost efficiency and ensure smooth operations on Black Friday and beyond.
Retail leader Target hires nearly 100,000 temporary workers during the holiday season. While Target is a massive operation with millions of customers, retailers of any size can benefit from having a few extra hands on deck when holiday shoppers flood the floor. But time is of the essence. Ramping up seasonal hiring now gives you time to properly onboard temp employees and gives them time to learn your sales script, so they can properly represent your offerings or promote seasonal specials.
Establish an online strategy
In the past, hearty Black Friday shoppers would often bundle up and camp outside their favorite stores to claim dibs on deals. But, with the rise of online shopping, this rite of seasonal shopping passage has become less common. Now online sales generate more than $117 billion.
With that being said, it’s important for retailers to market promotions in strategic ways that attract both webroomers and showroomers. Utilizing marketing channels such as email, influencer promotion, and social media are great places to start. Many online shoppers are social media superusers with 63 percent of consumers who search for businesses online saying they’re more likely to buy if a brand has an established social media presence.
Prepare the storefront
Last but not least in your Black Friday preparations, make sure your store is dressed for the occasion. Brief your employees on the Black Friday game plan, create festive and helpful signage to direct customers, and—if need be—restructure the store layout. On that last point, yes, the layout of your store is essential to manage traffic flow and encourage purchase: nearly 50 percent of shoppers go to a store specifically so they can take purchases home immediately, rather than waiting on a shipment. By making your holiday markdowns extra accessible and easy to find, you’ll be able to get customers looking for instant gratification in and out of your store in no time.
Ready for more retail tips and tricks to keep your business running smoothly? Check out our blog on three ways to identify new revenue streams!
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