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Surviving Black Friday: Guide for Retailers

Black Friday is just around the corner, marking the official start of the holiday season for shoppers and retailers. Each year, the last Friday of November is getting bigger by generating more and more sales and revenues. In 2018, it generated $6.2 billion in online sales, which was almost 23% more than the previous year.  This has resulted in a leap in demand for e-commerce companies and retailers.

It can be very challenging to keep up with that demand and maintain high-quality customer service at the same time.  This is crucial for businesses since the overall customer experience defines whether they will return or not.  Many of these purchases are gifts, which puts even more pressure to provide on-time delivery. Considering the enormously high return rates after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers have to literally prepare for everything.

How can retailers survive Black Friday?

Prepare early

Traditionally, retailers start preparing for the holiday season really early, starting in the middle of August. However, if you haven’t done that much advanced planning, you can still adjust to the rush before the end of November. Make sure to set up all marketing campaigns, prepare sales, check inventory and estimate how many products you will be selling during the busy time. Also, book capacity in advance to ensure fast and on-time shipping.

Hire help

The sales can really jump quickly during Black Friday weekend, so consider hiring additional staff to help you fulfill all the orders. Whether it is help directly in the warehouse, stock facility, or with customer support, there are no extra hands when it comes to the holiday rush. Expanding your freight carrier network would also be a great solution since you’ll have more capacity in case of an emergency.

Make sure to have all the partners set up

Retail business is complex and usually involves many parties in the operating process. While you prepare your stock and check payment systems, don’t forget to communicate all of this information to your suppliers, shipping companies, and other business partners. Let them know about the timing, or what you will need in advance. A clear communication strategy will help you avoid potential misunderstandings and shipment disruptions.

Ultimately, with good preparation, Black Friday and the rest of the holiday season can be less of a burden. Analyze your previous years’ experience and implement solutions that will benefit both you and your customers.

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