Perhaps one of the best-known cultural imports from the USA, Black Friday is now very much embedded here in the UK. Reaching record levels of sales year on year, it is still one of the biggest days of trading for high street and on-line retailers.
With the negative effect Coronavirus has had on the sector, this year there is perhaps more than ever at stake for companies who need a financial boost.
The key to a successful Black Friday?
Preparation. Those who gain the greatest advantage when the doors open and the cash registers ping into action are the retailers who got themselves into the best shape to cope with the peak in demand – those who prepared for the shopping frenzy arising from the irresistible discounts.
How best to prepare?
Undoubtedly by not underestimating how inventory (and inventory management) will be tested.
Inventory must be double-checked to ensure that availability will satisfy demand. There will be ‘star items’ which will move faster than everything else and new, seasonal inventory which may differ significantly from traditional stock. All in all, this means a huge increase in the number and type of items to be identified, added and logged.
What’s more, promotions must be applied to every single relevant item within stock and validity and eligibility understood by all staff to avoid costly errors on the shop floor.
And then the store doors open…
Even with shelves filled to capacity with accurately logged stock and staff trained on all aspects of promotional offers, there is still the potential to stumble when the day is in full swing.
The somewhat-chaotic Black Friday environment means that staff actions must be both speedy and accurate. There will be increased demand at pay points and many impatient shoppers requiring immediate assistance.
The most important task as the day unfolds is the replenishment of the rapidly forming gaps on the fixtures. These must be filled efficiently and effectively. Falling behind is not an option if lost sales are to be avoided and trading expectations are to be met.
Technology may be the best assistant
If staff are to perform well under this kind of pressure, they need a rapid and easy scanning-based inventory solution. This will aid product fulfilment, allow fast and accurate answering of customers’ queries and result in speedy resolution the issues which could sap valuable time and resources.
The need for efficiency doesn’t end when the doors close
It simply heralds the start of the next stage – replenishing stock. Items sold will not be limited to the special offers; sales of standard inventory will also make up a significant proportion of sales. Once again, a reliable and robust inventory solution is needed to count and identify products sold and indicate priorities in re-ordering. Returning successfully to business as usual doesn’t afford time for manual stock checks and form filling or the resulting errors which can be introduced.
Barcode scanners are the answer
There’s absolutely no doubt that robust and reliable barcode scanners are one of the most important tools when it comes to successful Black Friday trading. When time and accuracy are critical, you need to know that you can trust the inventory information you start with, its continuous
updating throughout the day, and the restocking actions generated when it’s all over.
At PLM Global we understand the essential role which barcode scanners play on a daily basis amongst our retail, distribution and manufacturing clients. We also recognise that there are peaks where they are needed most of all and that’s why we also offer equipment rentals, ensuring we have the stock levels to meet even the highest Black Friday demands.
For more details on this or any other aspect of our service or products, get in touch.