Even with traffic down, Black Friday still affords an opportunity to win new customers and increase the loyalty of old ones. I spent the first 8 years of my career in retail seeing this first hand. I also witnessed employees making great suggestions on how to improve the Black Friday experience for both them and customers.
What was interesting is that many of the suggestions were simple and easy to execute. However, they delivered immeasurable impact to the spirit of the store.
Some of the suggestions were as simple as buying a helium tank and placing balloons all over the store, or turning up the music so that it truly felt like a party.
Others required a little bit more work, such as finding a local donut or coffee shop to provide free refreshments for the customers that were waiting for the store to open at 5 AM. Essentially the employees approached Black Friday as a house party and the customers as our welcomed guests.
With the customers taken care of by our employees the managers’ suggestions were focused on taking care of the employees. The managers bought candy and water and handed them out throughout the day. They also created contests and raffles for with prizes that varied from silly to substantial. Together we created team chants, did silly dances, and made sure the employees were smiling.
Enhancing Customer Experience
In the last few weeks I have reached out to former colleagues and employees to hear about what they are planning for Black Friday. While many of them will be doing a lot of the above many will also be leveraging Social Media this year.
Some stores this year will have their own store-specific hashtags for Twitter and Instagram. They will be using these to engage with customers both in-store and out. Others are going to be running photo contests and will have Instragram photo props for their customers to use. Like a thoughtful party host, they want their guests to create memories.
Speaking of memories, some stores will have Santa or elves walking around so that the guests can take pictures with them. As for the employees, again there will be department, store, and other contests, creating a fun and competitive environment. One store I spoke to will be handing out lottery tickets (based on reaching certain goals) to employees throughout the day and announcing what they have won over the walkie-talkies. The hope clearly is that someone wins a big prize and creates a lasting memory while driving sales and service.
In the next few weeks you should challenge your whole store to think of how to easily and inexpensively throw a “party.” Black Friday presents you with the opportunity to capture new customers and make old ones even more loyal. So throw a party and celebrate that your guests have chosen you!!
Please visit us on Cyber Monday as I will be recapping the best and worst of Black Friday 2015.