In 2017 many shopping centres saw shoppers breaking down doors to be first in-store at major retailers, customers staying up all night to be the first to check out their online store items and shoppers queuing way before trading hours to get their share of the deals in-store.

So, what can we expect in 2018?  More retailers participating, even further reduced pricing and shoppers once again eagerly wanting in on the action before sunlight!

So how can retailers prepare for the much-anticipated Black Friday?

Research shows that more than 50% of festive season consumers start researching gift ideas in October or even earlier, indicating that planning and kicking-off marketing campaigns by early November is of utmost importance. Therefore, before Black Friday hits, Christmas deals need to be in place for Festive merchandise to be purchasable.

With Black Friday being one of the busiest retail days, customer service quite often takes a backseat and driving sales is priority.  To avoid this and ensure shoppers leave your store with a positive experience, ensure staff are adequately trained on what the promotion mechanics are, so that if they’re posed with any question from a shopper, they are well prepared.  Also ensure that there are adequate staff members to meet the customer demand.  Consider hiring additional staff for the day to avoid shoppers leaving the store disappointed.

As Black Friday only takes place on one singular day, make sure you engage with shoppers long before the day by means of social media, in-store advertising, website and newsletters. Offering exclusive deals to those who sign up to your newsletter will not only grow your customer data base but generate interest in your offering long before the big day. Another alternative is to extend your promotion for the weekend. Last year, some retailers tried this strategy with positive results.

Lastly, do not forget to create an in-store experience for shoppers to show your loyal shoppers that they are appreciated. Should your store have a loyalty program create additional discounts when swiping loyalty cards on the day or added loyalty points that could be redeemed afterwards. It doesn’t just have to live in the moment, in the store. Also think of creating an engaging social media competition where shoppers can ‘check in’ to the store and stand a chance of winning prizes instantly.

Black Friday, 23 November 2018 – coming to a shopping centre near you!

Written by Carlyn Conradie, Account Executive: The Blue Room (based at Golden Acre as Marketing & Exhibitions Coordinator)