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How to Prepare Your Shop for Crowds on Black Friday

Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year. In 2017, more than 174 million Americans shopped in stores and online during the Black Friday to Cyber Monday weekend. Most shoppers use this time to score deep discounts on must-have items, or to knock out their whole family’s Christmas wish list. So if you’re offering sales, you need to be prepared for the crowds that come with them.

Here are a few tips from Kim Casmey and Kimberly Williamson, Fourpost’s Community and Operations Managers, for prepping your shop for Black Friday:

Hire or schedule more employees to work that day.

The shopping day is busier than normal, so you’re going to need more employees to cover it than you would generally schedule. If you have time and need more help, get those interviews done and those employees trained quickly. Pro tip: assign new employees to easier tasks and put your best sales reps on the floor to help customers.

Prep your employees to provide great customer service.

Make sure your team know your brand’s story and products. They should be able to answer questions about how and where your products are made, how they work, what they’re for, and even who you’d recommend to use them.

You should also prep your employees for handling frustrated or impatient customers, and teach them how to stay calm in difficult situations. Good customer service on a chaotic day like Black Friday can go a long way to making your brand stand out and creating loyal customers. While your employees should always treat customers kindly and go out of their way to help them, this is even more important to emphasize on a day like Black Friday.

Incentivize and motivate your team.

While you’re prepping your employees to offer great customer service, give them a good reason to do it. This could be through incentives like rewards for the best customer feedback, contests with prizes, or a holiday bonus.

Keep your employees motivated throughout the day with pep talks and appreciation. You may want to consider providing them with breakfast if your store is opening earlier than usual, or lunch and snacks to keep them powering through. You could also host a holiday party in the days to follow as a thank you for their hard work and to build team morale for the shopping season.

Stock up on your best sellers.

If you’re offering discounts or just anticipate a larger demand for your best-selling products, then make sure you have plenty in stock for the day. If you’ve advertised discounts, you don’t want to run out an hour into the sale and risk customers leaving disappointed and unhappy with your brand. Look at your sales from last year and carefully calculate how many extra items you should order ahead—just be careful not to over do it. You don’t want to be stuck with products you can’t move after the sales end.

Open up more registers or POS systems.

If you think you’ll have long lines for check out, then offer more ways or registers for people to complete their sale. You don’t want customers stuck in long lines and growing bored or impatient. Consider investing in an iPad with your POS, and checking people out along the line for those paying with a card. And if you can’t open up more check out points, then try to make your customers’ wait as comfortable and happy as possible. Offer them candies or take it a step further and serve up holiday favorites like hot chocolate.

Offer free shipping and extend your return policy.

People love free shipping. Last year, free shipping offers convinced 46% of people to complete a purchase they were hesitant about making. If you run out of stock on some of your products, direct people to purchase it from your online store with a free shipping offer to ensure you still capture that sale.

You should also consider extending your return policy to create goodwill with your customers. Many of them will be purchasing gifts for family and friends and might need to exchange sizes. And the people who want to return the items they got as gifts probably won’t be able to until well after the purchase date.

Put up sales signs in your store.

People won’t know where to look for your sales unless you show them where they are. Keep the crowds moving and the number of questions your team has to field down by putting up clear signs that direct people towards your sales and discounted items.

However, you don’t want to just throw up a sign you printed out from a Word document. If you’re not great at graphic design, try using a template from CreativeMarket or an online design tool like Canva, or hire a freelance designer.

Create easy-to-navigate displays.

Keep your shop aisles clear and your products easy to view with well-designed displays. Create pathways through your shelves or tables, and group related items together to showcase a full solution. Sell razors? Set up a display with the razors along with shaving creams, dishes, and brushes. Add in an aftershave or cologne as well. This will make your products easier to find, save shoppers time, and help you sell more.

Keep it clean and tidy.

One of the most frustrating things about stores on sales weekends is how messy they can get. Crowds run through and knock things over in your path, or you have to rummage through piles of clothing to find the right size. Don’t let this be your shop. Put one or more of your employees in charge of keeping the store tidy, the displays neat, and your floors clear.

Quickly run through our Black Friday checklist below to keep yourself on track.