Black Friday 101 for Retailers: Best Practices for a Successful Black Friday

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GottaDeal.com, a site dedicated to covering Black Friday since 2003, has presented a set of best practices for the retail industry to follow on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year. These suggestions were compiled from years of feedback by the site's visitors and staff.

Black Friday is traditionally considered the biggest shopping day of the year. Known primarily for the large number of bargains and promotions offered by nearly every retailer, Black Friday is also known for chaotic experiences at stores, ill-prepared staff, crowd control issues and store policies that are not always customer-friendly. GottaDeal.com, the web's oldest Black Friday, has recently issued a set of suggestions for retailers to follow - a set of best practices they are calling "Black Friday 101 for Retailers".

Many of the suggestions offered relate to the customer experience prior to the door actually opening. GottaDeal.com suggests that retailers offer waiting customers drinks and snacks if they'll be waiting for a prolonged period of time outside the store. They also suggest retailers adopt a ticket system which ensure that the most popular items are able to be purchased by those who have been waiting in line the longest.

Another tip offered by GottaDeal.com is to offer printed store maps showing customers where Black Friday ad items are located within the store. A few retailers started doing this last year and it proved successful. Nothing frustrates customers more than rushing to the electronics section to grab the laptop on sale only to find they are located across the store in another department.

GottaDeal.com also suggests that retailers have an adequate number of well-trained and informed employees to deal with any issues that may come up. Store employees should be knowledgeable when it comes to story policies and there should be enough employees and checkout lanes open to prevent lengthy delays once customers have completed their shopping and are ready to check out.

Store policies on price matching and returns should also be clearly defined, and should not vary on a store-to-store basis. These policies should ideally be printed on the actual Black Friday advertisement so there are no surprised when a customer visits a store on Black Friday itself. Stores should also attempt to inform customers of the quantities available of the more popular items. This will give shoppers realistic expectations of their chances of getting an item before it sells out.

Shoppers on GottaDeal.com also said that a store offering free items to the first group of customers is more likely to get their business. JCPenney was cited as a prime example of this fact as they have given out Disney snow globes to early shoppers for many years. Other appreciated items include free gift cards or discount coupons.

As online shopping has exploded in popularity, so has online Black Friday deal hunting. GottaDeal.com suggests that retailers make as many of their Black Friday sale ad items available online as possible. Shipping rates have been one of the biggest disadvantages of the online version of Black Friday. Shoppers said they'd like to see more free shipping offers, even if it means waiting longer for their orders to arrive.

Finally, GottaDeal.com suggests that retailers embrace Black Friday sites rather than issuing legal threats and demanding that ads be taken down. Sites like GottaDeal.com provide retailers with free advertising and have audiences in the millions of users. Retailers should embrace these sites and the die-hard shoppers that frequent them.

Following these best practices can only lead to a better overall experience for both retailers and consumers on Black Friday. These suggestions can reduce stress for both shoppers and employees and encourage others who may normally shy away from going out on Black Friday to give it a try. With this holiday shopping season being very crucial to retailers, anything they can do to increase sales should be tried.

GottaDeal.com was founded in 2004 and is dedicated to save consumers money in all aspects of their daily lives. In addition to a main online deals site and a large, active community forum, each year GottaDeal.com has a dedicated Black Friday site focused on providing advanced looks at the Black Friday sale ads from national retailers.

For more information on Black Friday or online shopping, or to schedule an interview with someone at GottaDeal.com, please visit http://blackfriday.gottadeal.com or e-mail gottadeal(dot)com(at)gmail(dot)com

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Brad Olson
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