The holy grail of business sales is Black Friday, and it’s only a month away. Small brick-and-mortar businesses will be battling it out with larger, more experienced retailers, which means the former will have to go above and beyond to make sure they’re staying competitive. Luckily, there are easy and often overlooked hacks to make sure your brick-and-mortar business is as prepared as possible:
Double and triple check your inventory.
You should already be expecting inventory to leave the shelves faster than usual and you won’t want to run out of any items (especially if it’s a popular product for your business). That’s an easy way to disappoint existing customers and lose future customers, even more so during the busiest sales time of the year. Make sure you’re regularly checking the status of your inventory throughout November using either an inventory management software or an old-fashioned excel sheet. And if you feel like you need more of a product or you have a hunch that you might run out of something, order more ahead of time!
Have shipping supplies stocked and ready.
In the event that you do keep an eye on inventory and still run out of specific product, make sure you have a sizable stock of shipping supplies. Most buyers will be on Christmas deadlines and are expecting orders to be on their doorstep in just a few days. Don’t delay the process even more by forgetting to make sure you have logistical materials ready. Stocked envelopes, tape and other shipping supplies will come in handy during the holiday rush of shipment orders.
Schedule your social media marketing efforts ahead of time.
Instead of waiting to write your social media advertisements the week of Black Friday, schedule them ahead of time with a free web tool like HootSuite. If you strategize a social media marketing schedule, you’ll be able to focus on more pressing and time-sensitive issues in the days leading up to Black Friday, like stocking inventory. Think about what kind of sales and events you want to host, and then communicate sales-driven messages such extended store hours, images of new products and exclusive deals. Since these take several hours craft carefully, set some time beforehand to ensure a high-quality social media promotional effort.
Set optimistic (but reachable) sales goals.
Prepare a sales forecast to create an event-oriented sales goal. Black Friday provides small businesses a very valuable and unique opportunity to source new customers. Optimize the shopping traffic of Black Friday to generate sales leads and engage shoppers with your business. Setting sales goals can also help guide your inventory stock. As mentioned earlier, the last thing you want to do is lose sales and customers because you ran out of a product. Use figures from prior years to help determine an ambitious yet realistic sales goal.
If you’ve considered hiring extra staff, it’s probably because you should.
With increased sales comes the possibility of hiring a temporary staff to keep up with the influx of new customers and larger inventory. But just because you need to hire temporary employees doesn’t mean the hiring will take less time. Hiring employees can be a laborious task, even for a position that will only last 6-8 weeks. It’s better to start sooner than later if you think you’ll need some backup.
Black Friday is a fantastic opportunity to grow your brick-and-mortar business, but only if you prepare ahead of time. Take advantage of the weeks leading up to Black Friday to plan and prioritize your business goals because once the holidays kick in, there will be little time to focus on anything other than your customers.
Image courtesy of ICSC.org.