8 Proven Ways to Boost Store Efficiency on Black Friday
The serious Black Friday players have been preparing for months. They've reviewed their operation and identified all the things they could do better in 2019. It’s big business, and for many retailers their holiday performance informs their whole year profits.
Let’s assume you’re not one of the businesses with Black Friday meticulously planned. What can you do now to boost your store efficiency? Consider these eight tips:
- Get the stock there. Make sure the stock is in your stores, where you need it in good time for Black Friday. Your retail locations need the space to organize and store the merchandise so employees can easily find and retrieve lines as the sales roll in. Finding a box of best-sellers in the corner of the warehouse the day after is a sure sign you missed opportunities.
- Organize. Let stores know when the stock will arrive and how much there will be so they can have their people available at the right time. Make a plan to get the stock in place before the store opens, along with in-store promotional messaging. Sounds simple and obvious, yet stock availability is cited in CEO reports of multiple retailers that have failed to hit their expected sales.
- Messaging matters. You want to let your customers know about the deals available in-store. Consider how you can reach the most consumers as quickly as possible. Digital marketing will be your friend as it has the best reach and quickest set-up times.
- Evaluate opening hours. Will you open earlier than usual? Stay open later? These decisions should be made, especially if your competitors and other local shops are.
- Plan your team for the day. Sort out the schedule, move days off, bring in enough extra staff so customers can get their hands on your bargains without standing in a long line — or worse still walking out. Think about when your busiest times will be, and then plan shifts and breaks accordingly. Black Friday isn't the day to trim team hours and try to save money.
- If lines start to build, act early. It’s easier to prevent a queue than it is to clear one once it has developed.
- Prepare your store managers. They need to cope with the unexpected and lead the store team so they can react to the challenges that a busy shopping day can bring. Your managers need to be at their best, and the golden rule for peak trading is keep your managers out of hands-on work. Their job is to be the orchestra conductor, keeping operations running smoothly and coordinating the team to make the most of the day.
- Once the day is done, review everything. Look hard at buying, logistics and how your head office helped stores get ready. Ask area and store managers for their feedback on how you could have set them up better, and identify the highs and lows of their local execution. Identify what worked well so you can do it again next year while also identifying the changes needed to generate more profit next year.
Next Black Friday will come around again, and before that there’s Cyber Monday, Christmas, Singles Day and more — use these lessons wisely.
Simon Hedaux is the founder and CEO of ReThink Productivity, a leading productivity consultancy.
Simon Hedaux started out on the shop floor and quickly progressed to Manager and then straight to Head Office. Becoming Productivity Manager at leading UK retailer Boots, he then became a Workforce Management Consultant before founding ReThink Productivity. In just nine years it has become one of the leading productivity consultancies — helping some of the world’s biggest businesses get ahead.