Five Tips to Improve Black Friday Sales in 2017

by Mike Gergye

More than 154 million consumers shopped in stores and online for Black Friday in 2016, which was about 3 million more than 2015, according to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey. In fact, U.S. e-commerce revenue set a new record of $3.34 billion and a substantial 21.6 percent year-over-year growth rate. The survey also found that 108.5 million people shopped Black Friday deals online while 99 million went to stores. So while Black Friday is still a big hit for brick-and-mortar deal seekers, shoppers are increasingly turning online.

Speaking of online shopping, today is Prime Day. Amazon had its biggest sales day ever during Prime Day 2016. Yes, even bigger than Black Friday. But even as the fear of e-commerce continues to grow, it’s important to remember that 40 percent of shoppers make a purchase after positive interaction with a sales associate in-store, according to a recent Mindtree study. Additionally, after a positive interaction, the average transaction amount increases by 81 percent.

It’s a wake-up call to the retail industry: offer better in-store shopping experiences for Black Friday and enhance it with mobile technology. The truth is that even though shopping online can be easier, people do still like to put their hands on things for holiday shopping. They just need to know that you’re offering superior service and matching deals they can get online. If you build it, they will come.

Here are five tips that will help you build a better Black Friday in-store experience:

1. Get the word out early. Make sure shoppers know how you’ve improved the in-store experience this year. Digital marketing can help get the word out and showcase what deals you’re offering and how you are offering superior customer service that can’t be matched online. Offer price matching and exclusive doorbuster deals they can’t get online.

2. Condition employees to expect increased customer volume. During less intense times on the job, you can practice in training groups how to handle the increased number of shoppers. Employees need to know how to keep their cool and also who to call when different situations arise. If products are sold out in-store, outfit your associates with tablets to help customers order via your website. Make e-commerce a tie-in to your store experience in times of high volume.

3. Train employees to multitask with customers. There is definitely a nuance to serving multiple customers. Employees should be trained to make sure that each customer is acknowledged, gets their questions answered, and gets through the checkout as smoothly as possible. They should also know which manager to reach out to for different situations. Training for crowd control also helps, so that one employee can direct shoppers to other available employees and help lines move faster.

4. Maximize add-ons and make customers want to return. Suggestive selling is one of the best skills for sales associates to master. When done right, it can increase basket size and sales, but mainly it allows customers to discover things they actually need and helps them get the most out of their purchases. This, in turn, increases customer satisfaction, enables retailers to build trust, and makes shoppers want to keep coming back.

5. Pair up with more experienced associates during slower times. Many people learn by observation and repetition, and that’s why we recommend that less experienced associates be paired up with a sales pro. This allows them to have dedicated assistance when they’re unsure what to do in different situations and it also helps them see what sales techniques resonate with different customers. You should also allow sales associates to come in and train during slower foot traffic times and be able to think through what steps they need to take to increase basket size and achieve customer satisfaction. Practice makes perfect and it will allow them to feel more confident during times of increased volume.

If you follow these tips, you should see improved sales and happier customers this Black Friday. The time to start planning is now and if you need help, MarketSource’s assisted sales representatives are specifically trained to be an extension of your brand. They help create a memorable in-store experience that will keep customers loyal and make the final sale. Additionally, we offer marketing and development research that offers insights that will help you reach your consumer base. Learn more about how we can help your Black Friday sale be a success.

Topic: Retail


Mike Gergye is the practice leader for new services and continuous improvement. As a 20+ year veteran of hardlines, softlines, and telecommunications retail, Mike leverages his experience to identify, design, and coordinate the testing, implementation, and continuous improvement of new capabilities at MarketSource.

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