Black Friday is coming up soon, and if you’re not prepared yet, it’s time to start planning now. This year, Black Friday falls on November 25th. While this day isn’t as as ‘over-the-top’ and highly adopted in South Africa as it is in America, it is still one of the biggest shopping days of the year. If you want increased traffic and sales for your store, why not join in?

In this article, we’ll share 10 tips to help prepare your online, or brick-and-mortar store, for this upcoming Black Friday.

  1. Plan your Promotions & Discounts ahead of time

The reason why Black Friday is so successful is because the deals are incredible value for money. Put together great promotions, freebies and discounts on the products you can afford to sell for less. You should also start promoting your deals a week or two in advance, so customers have time to plan their shopping.

  1. Sort out Inventory

Take stock of what you have. Do you have enough inventory to meet the expected demand? If needed, try to order more of the items you think might do well, keeping in mind that the point of this shopping day is to:

  1. Sell out stock that has been ‘sitting’ for a while
  2. Increase sales, and
  3. Attract new traffic or feet.

Black Friday should by no means leave you with more stock you won’t be able to move or cause you to incur additional debt.

  1. Make sure your Website can handle the influx of traffic

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the busiest shopping days of the year, especially online. Your website needs to be able to handle the increased traffic. If you don’t normally receive a lot of visitors to your site, it may be because it is too slow loading, in which case you may want to consider upgrading your website hosting plan.

  1. Prepare your Staff

In malls and shopping centres across the country this shopping day can cause a shopper-frenzy. It is important to make sure your staff are prepared. Train them on how to handle the increased customer volume, and make sure they know all about the deals and discounts you will be offering. You may also have to consider hiring additional staff for the day, if needed.

  1. Promote, promote, promote!

The more you promote your Black Friday deals, the more customers you’ll attract. Use social media, email marketing, and any other channels you have to reach as many people as possible. Start early, and do some last minute deals if you deem it appropriate.

  1. Offer Free Shipping

Free shipping is always a popular perk for online stores. However, on Black Friday, it’s especially important to offer it. Customers are looking for the best deals, and the R60-R100 additional fee for shipping could be the reason they decide to not buy from you in the end.

  1. Make sure your website is Mobile-friendly

More and more people are using their smartphones to shop online, so it’s critical to make sure your website responsive, i.e. that it is designed to adjust to mobile devices. If your website is not mobile-friendly, you could be losing out on a lot of potential sales.

  1. Offer exclusive deals for Loyal Customers

If you have a loyalty or rewards programme, or even an opted-in database, offer some exclusive Black Friday deals for members. This will encourage customers to sign up to your programme or database, and it will also give them an incentive to shop with you again in the future.

  1. Put a plan in place for Returns & Exchanges

Prepare yourself and your business for shopping regret. With the bulk of shopping taking place on this day some customers may need to return some of their purchases. Put a plan in place ahead of time and decide how you’re going to handle returns and exchanges, and make sure your staff are aware of this policy.

  1. Prepare for the worst

Despite your best efforts, things may still go wrong. Be prepared for website crashes, power outages, and other potential problems. Have a plan in place for how you’ll deal with these issues if they arise, and make sure your staff is aware of this as well.

Good luck!