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Black Friday earned its moniker from being the day businesses can finally bring their budget in the black after months of operating in the red. One bad business move on this critical shopping day, though, and your budget could be stuck in the red for the rest of the year.
Here are five ways your Black Friday sales could go horribly wrong and what you can do now to prevent disaster and ring in success.
Is your store prepared for an onslaught of online orders? Many consumers opt to avoid the Black Friday frenzy by sticking to online shopping. This year, sales forecasts predict 34% of Black Friday sales will be made from mobile phones, so your website must be ready for the additional digital traffic or prepare to pay the price.
You don’t want to risk going into Black Friday with unreliable business internet. You must partner with a fast, reliable business internet provider to keep up with the incoming flood of orders. Second, do an internet speed check before the big sales day. Experts recommend staging a Black Friday production environment to test your online ordering system with an extremely high user load. Third, consider using a content delivery network (CDN), which is a cloud-based internet server that can prevent website crashes during a traffic surge.
An increasing number of stores are turning Black Friday into a weekend event, starting on Thanksgiving and extending through Sunday. This extended shopping time has negatively affected business, likely because longer discounted periods lose their shopping allure.
Financial experts say businesses have a lot to gain by respecting Thanksgiving and limiting the sales to only Black Friday. Plus, they will receive a public-relations spur by letting employees and customers enjoy the holiday with their families.
A major reason shoppers visit brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday is for the shopping experience. Online retailers, too, need to create a stellar and seamless transaction for Black Friday shoppers.
Create a curated shopping experience, guiding customers to what they should buy. Online, you can create holiday gift guides, a list of staff favorites, and even a holiday shopping FAQ page. In store, remember no one knows your customers better than you do. Focus on your store’s strengths, like great customer service, quality products, and knowledge of local shopping trends. You’ll encourage repeat customers by making the shopping experience something they’ll remember long after Black Friday.
Start advertising your sales now with social media posts showing off the deals on the must-have gifts of the season as well as pictures of new products. Consider offering special add-ons for Black Friday shoppers to attract more customers, like a gift with any purchase or providing free cookies and hot chocolate in your store.
Get more customers to sign up for your loyalty program, email newsletter, or text list by advertising that the customers who do so will get early notifications about special Black Friday offers.
Customers want to square away their purchases before Christmas, and they’ll quickly turn elsewhere if they can’t easily find your store policies. Your shipping dates and return policies need to be clearly stated in your store, perhaps on a separate page within your website.
Both online and brick-and-mortar stores need to publicize their return policies in case there’s a problem with any orders. A return policy that’s easy to navigate will bring more buyers to your site because they’ll be more willing to take the purchase risk. Online retailers need to update holiday shipping times with a cutoff date for holiday purchases so customers are assured their gifts will arrive before Christmas.
Whether it’s a Black Friday dress rehearsal or adding in a few last-minute perks, even small preparations now can prevent big disasters later. When you prepare for potential retail disasters beforehand, you can feel confident your Black Friday sales will roll your profits into the black and bring smooth sailing for your store on the biggest shopping day of the year.