Preparing Your Store & POS System for Black Friday

Black Friday 2017 was one of the biggest shopping days in history. Retailers earned $7.9 billion in just 24 hours, representing an 18% increase over the year before. Plus, excitingly, in-store traffic declined just slightly despite the fact that online sales surged.

The situation on Black Friday 2018 looks a little different. More than 60 retailers have pledged to stay closed on or after Thanksgiving, foregoing a major component of Black Friday. But that doesn’t mean shoppers won’t be out in droves. One survey showed that 22% of Americans plan to spend $500+ on Black Friday alone.

In all likelihood your store will be open on Black Friday. And in all likelihood you are going to be slammed from open to close. The sales total at the end of the day offers something to look forward. Until that time, however, the run up to Black Friday and the day itself are extremely stressful for stores and their staff.

The best way to prepare is to get started early, right now ideally. It’s only a few weeks until shoppers start lining up, and there is more than enough to do in the short window of time left. Use these strategies to prepare your store and the QuickBooks Point of Sale system it relies on for the next Black Friday.

Get Your Staff Ready

Shopping spikes on Black Friday but stays brisk throughout the holiday season. In response, many stores hire seasonal staff. That may not be necessary at your store, but you do need to be thinking about your staffing needs from now through the first of the year. If you do choose to bring on new staff, either seasonal or permanent, make sure to get them thoroughly trained on your QuickBooks Point of Sale system so they don’t cause any hiccups at the checkout. Check out our How To blog post which covers how to enter and accept credit cards using QuickBooks POS.

Dig Into Your Data

A successful Black Friday is not a foregone conclusion. Your sales will surely go up, but it takes a plan to maximize them as much as possible. Now is the time to begin crafting your marketing and developing your sales with the aid of customer data. Much of this data is automatically collected, stored, and organized by QuickBooks Point of Sale for easy retrieval and analysis. Look at reports like:

  • Best selling items
  • Highest margin items
  • Items frequently sold together
  • Items most frequently purchased by returning customers

This can help you figure out how to structure your in-store displays, which items to feature prominently on your website or marketing materials, and which items your staff should upsell at the counter. It can also help you determine pricing. Maybe it is time to raise the price on your most popular items. And maybe you want to offer a discount when items are purchased as a pair to encourage more spending. Ideally you will use QuickBooks Point of Sale to look up reports from last holiday season, as this will give you a more accurate picture than just looking at your most recent quarter.

Stock Up on Inventory

Black Friday is the opposite of business as usual. In order to accommodate heavy volumes and one-time discounts you are going to need to re-calibrate your inventory. Unfortunately, that is difficult to do with limited storage space and unpredictable customer demands. Figuring out what you have and what you need is very easy using QuickBooks Point of Sale. Make sure you give your vendors lots and lots of notice to account for any shipping delays, and give you time to take proper stock of everything in your store well before Black Friday. Check out our blog post on How To Add Inventory Items Using QuickBooks POS.

Focus on the Checkout Experience

Success on Black Friday is all about getting the maximum number of people to make the maximum number of purchases. That is only possible if your checkout process is firing on all cylinders. Long lines at the checkout create frustration, demotivate extra purchases, and keep new customers from entering the store. Before the big day arrives, test your system to determine how it performs at high-speed, high-volume, and high-stress.

The absolute easiest way to improve your checkout experience is to open a second lane. You can add a user to your existing QuickBooks POS account for less than $1,000. This will literally double the capacity you can check out at once meaning more sales for you and happier customers.

Check Your Credit Card Processing Rates

It is important to do a credit card processing rate review at least once a year. As your store becomes more established your rates will likely go down, and this can lead to big savings during the holidays. Imagine that on Black Friday you do $20,000 in sales, with an average sale of around $150. That equates to roughly 133 transactions.

With almost every credit card processor you are paying:

  • A fee per transaction
  • A percentage of the sale

If you were using a credit card processor like Stripe your average rate is going to be 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. That’s $620 out of your pocket going to the credit card processing company. Switching to Intuit Merchant Services for credit card processing you will have access to a rate as low as 1% with a transaction fee of $0.75. So the total cost to process your $20,000 in Black Friday sales will only be $299.75! That’s a savings of more than $300 just in a single day.

You can contact us for a free rate review. Get this done early so you don’t lose valuable money over the holidays!

Step Up Service

Customer service becomes an afterthought on Black Friday. Stores want to get people in and out as fast as possible, which leaves little time for courtesy or assistance. Since customers don’t expect great customer service on Black Friday, they are delighted when your deliver it. Find ways to go the extra mile to answer questions, relieve stress, and provide a pleasant experience. With a QuickBooks Point of Sale system in your corner you can worry less about teach headaches and checkout bottlenecks and more about what customers want and need.

Restore the Store

The physical space of the store is going to need a lot of attention. Start by replacing light bulbs, repainting walls, and updating fixtures when and where you can. Then find ways to create more floor space in the store. Cramped aisles are annoying for customers, and having more product doesn’t lead to higher sales. Finally, several nights before Black Friday, begin to do a deep clean on the store so that it looks spotless when you open the doors. Black Friday isn’t just a sales opportunity. It’s also a chance to make a lasting positive impression.

Look Past Friday

Two days after Black Friday comes Cyber Monday followed by several weeks of relentless holiday shopping. Your preparations for Black Friday will help throughout the holiday season, but you have to keep the effort ongoing. There will be challenges with staff, inventory, maintenance, pricing, marketing, and many more from now until the end of the year. Don’t take your eye off the ball, and rely on technology as much as possible. QuickBooks Point of Sale will make your holiday season more streamlined, and will allow you to collect valuable customer and sales information you can use moving into 2019.

If you have problems that need solutions, a new POS system is the tool for the job. QuickBooks Point of Sale systems make things as easy as possible on customers, staff, and managers alike. Plus, they provide insights and capabilities that help you attract customers and drive revenue.

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