Many retailers are celebrating some good sales results from Black Friday this year. A lot of hard work and planning went into making sure they were successful.
How did you do?
Can I tell you a secret? You may have missed the boat, and lost some significant sales. So much focus was put into all of the special buy and promotional product for Black Friday, that your core business inevitably suffered. Chances are it was not just Friday, but probably the weekend as well. How did it happen? It’s easy…
- Your managers and employees are so focused on the Black Friday product, that they take their focus off of their day to day tasks and routines.
- Your aisles become filled with Black Friday product, so your regular routine of re-stocking your shelves becomes disrupted.
- Your freight flow increases, and taxes your ability to flow freight to the sales floor.
- In the middle of it all is your customer. Because of everything listed above, your service level dips and it it very hard to navigate the store.
Having been in several stores over the madness that started on Friday, I saw it all. Core item shelves were very thin or empty, including two stores who had entire 8 ft. bays empty. Employees were stationed with Black Friday product, but no one was available in the aisles of the stores to assist. The maze of the check out lines left people frustrated, and several people simply abandoned their carts in the aisles, and walked out.
As a lifelong retailer, it made me sick.
NEWSFLASH TO ALL RETAILERS!
During Black Friday, your regular customers still shop your store, and they are looking for your regular products. You need to be there for them!
Here are some pointers to help alleviate some of the challenges that Black Friday brings. They will increase your sales, and keep your customers happier on a very, very busy week.
- Completely replenish your high traffic areas before placing Black Friday product in the aisles. Not all aisles in your store sell at the same velocity. Have a plan to completely fill those aisles to the brim early on. I know this sounds basic, but it is crucial. Most stores have increased traffic in the store, which means you will sell more of what you normally sell, not just your promotional items.
- Make sure your managers and employees circulate thru your entire store. You need to be available for your normal customer base, not just hanging out by the promo products. Take half of your people and put them with the Black Friday items, and make sure the other half are available and rotating to ensure everyone is getting the service they deserve.
- Prioritize your incoming freight, and put the effort into the aisles where you know the dollars are.
- We all know that to do Black Friday right, you have to place product in the aisles. HOWEVER….. product should NEVER be placed in front of your check out area. Look at it from your customers point of view.
They have been in your store, dodging and weaving thru piles of merchandise, as well as other customers with their sopping carts. Getting anywhere is very slow and tedious. Now they have their items and are ready to leave, What do they have to look forward to? Even more piles of merchandise and long checkout lines that weave all over the place. It is total chaos, and it males people grumpy.
In my experience with Black Friday, wide open check out areas free of product are a godsend to customers. A little open space that is free to navigate is a breath of fresh air, and makes people happy and relax. I know all of the reasons most stores do not do this, but I challenge you to do this. Every time I did this in my store, my customer comments (VOC) were overwhelmingly positive. I even had people call me the following week saying thank you for being able to get out of the store alive! Wide open check outs leave a great lasting impression with your customers.
Lets face it, Black Friday brings with it extra stress on all aspects of your business, along with the additional sales. I get it, I live it every year. I would just encourage you to think about your core business during Black Friday. I guarantee that time and focus here will pay off in greater sales and happy customers!