How to Perfect the Black Friday Customer Experience
The Black Friday shopping holiday traditionally takes place the day after the U.S celebration of Thanksgiving. This year, it falls on November 23. This also signals the beginning of the country’s biggest shopping weekend that ends with Cyber Monday. Its meaning as used today can be traced back to a 1966 American Philatelist magazine advertisement, and by the 1980s its use as a post-Thanksgiving sale period was commonplace among retailers. Last year, 174 million Americans went out shopping across the sales weekend, representing a retail sales increase of 5.5%.
Because of the immense deals and discounts available in stores, Black Friday has a reputation for being chaotic. However, Black Friday and the four-day shopping weekend is the perfect opportunity to create a bond with customers. It’s a chance to ensure that they will be coming back, even when there’s no major sale. Gaining visibility for your products and highlighting your customer service during the event will help keep your business in mind long after the year is over. Perfecting the Black Friday customer experience isn’t rocket science though. Check out our top 3 tips to make this holiday count!
Market what your customers value
Tapping into what customers value involves knowing both who your customers are and who you are as a company. Black Friday is your best chance to showcase how well you know your target market. Structure your campaigns and discounts based on sales data and customer feedback, and build the buzz through all channels. To remind your customers about your brand amidst the barrage of advertisements, run personalized remarketing campaigns close to Black Friday. And try not to do too much! When you understand your customers and you know how to reach them, there’s no need to drop hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertisements.
Integrate Black Friday into your loyalty program
Black Friday represents an immense amount of sales, but that should not be the end of it. Make sure that you integrate Black Friday into your company’s loyalty program. Every customer that walks in during the four-day shopping holiday should be convinced to come back. You can issue discount cards for the following year. You can also offer a special loyalty card where their Black Friday purchases already count towards a prize. Don’t waste the opportunity to win customers for life, because by taking care of the customers you already have, you will be able to secure your business, and even expand to new markets.
Schedule the correct number of staff
Great customer service is what separates winners from losers on Black Friday, and there’s a lot at stake for retailers. Avoiding a staffing slump during the shopping holidays means scheduling employees and organizing shifts to a T. This includes leveraging your pool of part-time staff to cover all possible bases, as well as distributing your A-Team across the day (and the weekend). Scheduling the correct number of staff will help you sell faster and perform better across the board. Don’t hesitate to spend a little more than usual, because this is an investment that’s going to pay off!
Many managers who have difficulty scheduling staff, communicating schedules and changes, and managing leave requests and shift swaps are in that position because of the lack of appropriate tools. Meanwhile, managers who are using workforce management systems are ahead of the game. Not only can they schedule and communicate with ease, but also use Live Insights to monitor store traffic and call help in when necessary. And best of all, once the busy weekend is done, timesheets can automatically be exported to a number of payroll partners, ensuring everyone is paid on time.
Black Friday can, understandably, cause stress to managers and employees alike. But this start to the holiday shopping season presents an unparalleled opportunity to move the inventory and keep your brand at the top of your customers’ minds throughout the year. This is not the time to second-guess strategies; it’s the time to invest in appropriate technology and plan for success. As long as you market what your customers value, integrate Black Friday into your overall loyalty program, and schedule the correct number of staff, you’ll be closer to perfecting the Black Friday experience.