Looking for something to supercharge your Black Friday sales? We put together 16 ideas to get off to a strong start.
1. If you can’t compete on price, offer extra service: Maybe you can’t afford to discount your prices as much as the big-box store down the road, but what if you offer to deliver the item the following week or offer free gift wrapping?
2. Ramp up: Black Friday doesn’t have to last just one day. Instead, feature sale items the entire week, building up to the actual day, when you’ll feature great deals, too.
3. Offer discounted shipping: Other online outlets will offer free shipping. Match that offer or lower shipping costs substantially.
4. Host events to preview sales and bring people in the door: You need a full store to generate the most sales on Black Friday. A hardware store could have home improvement how-to sessions on the days leading up to Black Friday, for example.
5. Offer respite from Black Friday insanity: Big box stores will be crowded and loud. Some people aren’t comfortable in that environment. Try offering coffee and refreshments in a relaxing environment — and be sure to publicize it well ahead of time.
6. Take care of waiting customers: If you have a line of people waiting for your opening, make sure they’re taken care of. Offer hot beverages, doughnuts, reading material (as in, your sales flyer), or even rent a few outdoor heaters. They should feel taken care of from the moment they get to your store.
7. Make a map: If your store has a lot of floor space, make a map to help customers people find what they’re looking for faster.
8. Control crowds: Don’t let everybody in at once if the crowds are large. Not only do you have maximum occupancy guidelines to adhere to, but limiting the number of shoppers who can come in at one time also helps create a positive experience for each customer.
9. Provide extra employee training: No employee should say “I don’t know” to any customer on Black Friday. Have everybody come in early enough that you can go over all promotions, sales, and special events.
10. Buy walkie-talkies: If you don’t normally outfit your employees with these, buy or rent them for use on Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Employees can ask questions, report incidents, and ask for help.
11. Call in additional security: Black Friday is a high-stress day for customers, and shoplifters could take advantage of the hysteria by trying to pocket your goods. An extra security guard could make your day less stressful and help customers feel secure.
12. Keep every register open: Nothing will annoy your customers more than standing in long lines when registers aren’t being used. If they can breeze through your lines, they’ll remember that extra touch after Black Friday is over.
13. Offer gift cards: Sixty percent of consumers requested gift cards as presents last year. Not only do they get people into your store to purchase, people who come in to use the cards will usually spend more than the value of the gift card.
14. Offer a no-nonsense price match guarantee: Most of the big box retailers have price match guarantees, but often they’re complicated. Target’s policy is more than 1,000 words long and includes numerous exclusions. If you offer the same product as other businesses, offer to match the price with reasonable verification — a store circular, for example. And include online retailers. If you’re worried that such a liberal policy will severely impact your bottom line, don’t be. Only 5 to 10 percent of your customers are likely to ask for a price match and you can often sell them higher margin accessories along with the purchase.
15. Try some digital advertising: Facebook now offers local awareness ads that allow you to target people within a certain radius of your business address. There are plenty of low-cost options to get the word out online. You can spend as little as $1 per day.
16. Forge a lasting relationship: If they come to your store on Black Friday, invite them back. Offer a discount on a future purchase or take an idea from the jewelry industry and offer free regular inspections. A jeweler might clean the product and examine it for damage, or a local mobile device dealer might check the condition of the battery or offer to install software updates.