Field marketing specialist, eXPD8, has top tips to help retailers get ready for Black Friday

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Black Friday in-store

Black Friday in-store

Sarah Sheffield, category development manager at retail support services provider eXPD8, has some top tips for retailers preparing for Black Friday

As the biggest sales weekend of the year approaches, online merchants both small and large are preparing to entice customers to spend on their site and to support the resulting increase in sales volume.

While online sales are expected to increase more moderately than the same period last year, according to research by Mintel, this year an unprecedented number of physical retailers will also take part in Black Friday promotions that are expected to deliver £200m of sales.

For these retailers, it is important their stores are ready to handle the demand and they know what they have do to support their staff. They should also remember Black Friday is an opportunity to engage Christmas shoppers earlier, not just to offload huge volumes of stock at a discount.

Retailers should ensure the shopping environment and offers reflect the core values of their brand or store — they want shoppers to return in December and next year. They should be aware that while the majority of retailers succeed at moving their overlooked and dated inventory during a huge selling day like Black Friday, they find, to their surprise, they struggle to increase profits.

This could be because they are just as excited about Black Friday as their customers and give away too much too early.

With that in mind, there are a few other top tips we have found as a merchandising service that help to make Black Friday go with a bang:

Plan ahead – avoid making changes in the stores on the day itself as they don’t need the disruption. If it can’t be helped, seek expert support to ensure any activity to install new POS or support materials is done under the radar without distracting colleagues so they can focus on the task in hand: helping customers to buy.

Stock up – ensure the stores are well stocked across DVD and catalogue with a prime focus on making sure planograms are correct. Key lines need to be prominently positioned, so staff on the ground can maximise sales of popular products easier. Black Friday is largely made up of offers on technology items such as televisions, DVD and Blu-ray players, which makes it an obvious opportunity to upsell customers the latest DVD or Blu-rays.

One direction – ensure POS material is correctly displayed and general store signage assists customers with their shopping journey. Directing shoppers around the aisles can help encourage impulse purchases.

Keep it clear – loose cardboard on the shop floor in the key shopping areas is best avoided, so be careful about where POS materials are placed to ensure longevity.

Speak up – it’s vital that your communications to each store are clear and that store colleagues’ and merchandisers’ tasks are aligned to make for swift set up and clarity on what should be displayed on the shop floor.

Don’t forget – there are some big new DVD releases currently and it is imperative that they are not overshadowed by Black Friday.