As a merchant, Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year. Shoppers throughout America look forward to the day. They plan which stores to hit and whether to camp out to catch the best sales. We’ve even heard of some people having Thanksgiving dinner at storefronts to get a head start on the lines. The buzz is exciting, but without proper store planning, the day can spiral out of control. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen to you! So, we came up with 8 tips for retailers to keep stores safe and frictionless during the busiest day of the year.
- Make online shopping irresistible. Cyber Monday doesn’t have to be the only online shopping day. You can be certain that people are shopping and looking for sales online on Black Friday too. Take this opportunity to boost online sales and reduce foot traffic at your store. Making for shorter lines, easier management of customers, and less congested aisle ways. In general, making the store safer for everyone.
- Set up a long and well-designed queue. Don’t let people mob up at the door right before opening time. A large moving crowd of people is much more dangerous than a line where only a few people can move at a time. Use stanchions to design one long line with a clear entrance. This also creates a feeling of fairness. When people line up on a first come first serve basis, they can relax knowing that they’ll get in when it’s their turn. When there’s no clear line, people feel the need to claim their space. They become aggravated when other people try to move in front of them. This can lead to arguments and, sometimes, physical aggression.
- Keep people happy. This is actually a fun way to connect with your customers and keep everyone in the best mood. Offer snacks, pass out blankets or even give them games to play. Irritated customers can become aggressive. Keep people polite and happy by reducing the things that annoy them, like being hungry or cold. Ask a few employees to come early to chat with customers and pass out goodies.
- Maintain your fire code capacity. Whatever you do, do not overcrowd your store. Shoppers are already frenzied about finding the best deals and the items they want. People can get hurt when a shop has gone over a safe capacity. This sounds obvious, but often the staff doesn’t know the store’s capacity or have a way to count people as they enter. Dedicate an employee or security guard to manning the door using a handheld tally counter.
- Organize your store well and offer a map. Create a map of your store pointing out the locations of all the sales and featured items. Hand out the map while people are still waiting in line. This gives customers a way to pass the time in line and makes their actions much more streamlined in the store. You want to get customers in and out as fast as possible. Organize your store in a logical way and offer direction to keep customers calm and happy.
- Train your staff. Start with ensuring that your staff is well trained in handling a normal day at work. They need to have the basics down before taking on a Black Friday sale. From there, train them to handle angry customers and to manage crowds. No matter how well you organize your store or design a flawless queue, sometimes people get mad. Your staff will need to know how to diffuse the situation. Go through possible scenarios and teach them proper steps for handling frustrated people. Also, make sure your team can manage and direct large crowds. Place staff members near the door and at checkout lines to direct people. This reduces confusion and helps depopulate crowded spaces.
- Take care of your staff. Your employees work hard on Black Friday, often arriving early and working late. You need them to make the day successful. But also, their attitudes have a direct effect on customer attitudes. A disgruntled employee can be hard to work with and upset customers in the store. While happy employees often keep other people happy by smiling and being joyful. Help your staff’s energy stay high by keeping them well fed. Bring breakfast and snacks and provide lunch if you can. Start their shift off well by giving them each a gift bag when they arrive with gift cards and other treats. Also, make sure to give them breaks often and to say thank you, a lot!
- Hire a security guard. At the end of the day, your staff shouldn’t be dealing with security issues. You need all your employees on hand to run your store properly. A security guard doesn’t need to know how to ring someone up or tell anyone where to find the 65” TV. They are only there to keep the peace, which makes everyone feel safer. They help enforce the rules and monitor the line, entry, and customer flow. If a customer does become a threat, security guards are well trained to handle the situation.
Black Friday doesn’t have to be painful! Make sure to have fun and plan ahead.
If you need security guards for your store on Black Friday, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re interested in joining our security team, please visit https://weinsteinsecurity.com/employment/.