26 October 2022

Black Friday – once the one-off US sales event that marked the start of Thanksgiving weekend – has become a global retail phenomenon. In the space of less than a decade, the late November date has completely overtaken the more traditional post-Christmas January sales on this side of the Atlantic, shifting the focus of bargain buying to the run-up to the festive season instead.

Despite keeping the name, ‘Black Friday’ is no longer restricted to a single day anymore. It has become a retail mini-season in its own right, a critical trading period when retailers look to maximise Christmas shopping revenues with an extended period of discounts, targeted offers and attractive customer experiences.

Black Friday has also established itself as a truly multichannel event, demonstrating how modern consumers seamlessly combine online and offline in how they shop. A familiar trend now is for customers to look up the best deals online and, because they don’t want to wait for home delivery, opt for ‘Click and Collect’ options, or simply head into a store to buy.

Black Friday online promotions therefore drive in-store footfall, and retailers have to be prepared to deliver the best experiences possible. By and large, customers will have identified what they want to buy and want to be in and out quickly – ‘tis not the season for casual browsing!

So how can retailers optimise their stores for the Black Friday rush? Here are a few tips to help you get ready come 25th November.

Bulk up your POS

From a customer’s perspective, the one big downside to the Black Friday rush is the inevitable queues, which is enough to put some people off heading into stores full stop. Retailers can do their bit to minimise wait times, however, by making sure they deploy their point of sale assets to their full strength – and even bring in reinforcements.

Having every till staffed and open at all times is a given. If you happen to have any spare terminals lying in the back office that you use for special events, or if your EPOS supplier can rent you a few more – get them on the shop floor. Super compact, versatile hardware like the AURES NINO is ideal for this purpose.

If you haven’t done so already, Black Friday is a great time to get to grips with Mobile POS (M-PoS). Tablet-based solutions like the AURES TMC7200 can be carried by staff as they mingle with customers around the store, providing an information resource to help them deliver efficient on-point service and also giving the option of processing sales there and then, helping to limit queues.

Signpost your best deals

Again, it is very likely that a large proportion of shoppers who visit during the Black Friday period will have done their research and already know what they are looking for. The last thing they want is to be wasting time hunting down deals they saw online but now cannot see in store – they will quickly get frustrated and head elsewhere.

Arrange your store so that all of your key deals are near the front and are clearly visible and signposted. Digital displays are a great tool to use, as you can quickly update the deals you are promoting as the event progresses.

Add value to every store visit

Finally, there is one very simple explanation for why shoppers still head into stores over the Black Friday period rather than just buying online – they want something from the experience that online shopping cannot give them. The instant fulfilment of getting your goods there and then is enough to convince many shoppers to brave the queues, but not all. To entice in the rest, you have to make the trip to your store really worthwhile.

It could be something as simple as offering refreshments to everyone who makes a purchase in store – maybe something festive like a mince pie. Or you could use your store to host engaging promotional events, with extra discounts for the first 100 visitors each day, or specially targeted ‘closed door’ events exclusive to your most loyal customers.

Take onboard some of these useful tips and hopefully the Black Friday period with be a profitable and enjoyable experience for both you and your customers.