Entry By Jason Brick
We're in the final stretch, our last week of preparation for Black Friday...this Friday. Although you've missed most of the action if you're tuning in this week, take a look at the whole series to help you get ready for next year. If you've been with us the whole time, congratulations! With a bit of luck, your hard work is going to pay off with the best retail season of your business's life.
This week combines your final exam with graduation. You have just one thing to do this week: Your Big, Bad Black Friday Bonanza. But the action doesn't start on Friday. Although every business and situation demands its own schedule, you'll do well if you stick to these basic guidelines. Now is time to stage everything for the action later in the week. Find time to take care or all of the following little tasks:
- Catch up on any cleaning that fell by the wayside in past weeks
- Confirm with every member of your staff they they understand their schedule and duties, and can commit to fulfilling them.
- Do whatever is necessary to ensure that any items you've ordered from suppliers will arrive on time.
- Schedule text messages reminding winners of your contests and all elite team members of your early bird sale for Wednesday night.
- Schedule text messages each day this week, each of which includes a countdown reminder (just 76 hours until...) and a teaser for one of the great specials you'll be running on Black Friday.
Finalize your schedule for Wednesday night and Friday. Wednesday, you'll be running a one-to-two hour exclusive early bird event for your winners, elite team, and guests. Determine the best time according to your industry and area. For example, a retail shop might stay open an hour late, while a restaurant might hold an exclusive mean during the lunch rush.
For Friday, you'll want to follow the lead of your competition. If the other sporting goods store in town opens at 5:00, open at 4:50. If the bar across the street runs happy hour until 8:00, run yours until 9:00.
Tuesday shouldn't be the first day you think about the schedule. Now is the time to confirm the final details, nothing more.
Run your early-bird special, and support it with text and social media reminders before and during the event. Bonus points for door prizes, time-sensitive extra discounts and anything else to get people as excited as possible. If you run out of stock during this sale, feel free to sleep in on Friday. You've earned it.
Take the day off. Hug your family. Watch the game.
Run your sale. By now, you and your staff should be mostly ready. You've planned your work...now work your plan. If business every starts to flag, send a text broadcast offering a limited deal for people who show up in the next hour. Use that instantaneous communication to keep people coming in all day long.
But that's not all! Black Friday is the beginning of the holiday retail season. With such a powerful start, what plans do you have to ride the momentum all the way to 2013? Tell us about it in the comments.