As we pace into the second week of November 2021, the largest retail weekend of the year is right around the corner: Black Friday.
Black Friday weekend has always been a lot to prepare for, and as the pandemic complicates the logistics of retail supply, this year’s holiday season is expected to pose unique challenges for businesses.
Whether you run a brick-and-mortar shop or solely operate online, expect for this to be the busiest time of the year for your business.
For those that have yet to put together an effective plan, there may still be time. Black Friday may be right around the corner, but a few key preparations can still make for a successful holiday sales season.
Maximize Your Marketing
Make the most out of your holiday season by beginning your marketing campaigns sooner rather than later. The worst thing that your business can do is wait until the last minute to promote your proposed promotions and your exclusive sales.
Ensure that you have covered basic marketing objectives by answering the following questions:
- How do you plan on advertising to your customers?
- What are your special sales/promotions?
- How much do you plan to spend on marketing?
Current supply chain challenges will illustrate bigger trouble for most retailers’ inventory over the next weeks, therefore many customers have already begun their holiday shopping.
Leading retail conglomerates announced their Black Friday promotions back in October, so you should get a jump on your business’s holiday marketing if you want to stay in the game.
Assess Your Inventory
Due to the well-known issues hindering the current supply chain, assess your inventory early and allot adequate time for new shipments. Take stock of the items you have and those you need while you have time to adjust. Decide whether you will use First In, First Out (FIFO) or Last In, First Out (LIFO) inventory tracking methods. Based on your specific business, there are pros and cons to each, so you may want to discuss your best method with a professional.
Also, by maintaining a level of transparency regarding your delivery timeframe(s), you can manage your customers’ expectations to ensure a smooth holiday shopping experience after Black Friday. Look at the shipping carriers you use as most have announced how long customers should expect packages to arrive during the holiday rush, as well as key deadlines for guaranteed delivery by specific dates.
Add a few extra business days for padding. It’s possible that orders placed after these deadlines will still arrive in time for the holidays, but it’s usually best to under-promise and over-deliver.
Consider Hiring Seasonal Employees
If you need the extra help, begin interviewing and hiring seasonal workers early to give yourself enough time to fill open positions.
Consider specific tax and payroll implications of onboarding temporary employees. You should determine whether or not they will be on a contract as well as the forms you need to file for tax and returns. If you need a payroll partner to help make sure you handle these issues correctly, now is a good time to seek advice!
Bolster your Online and Mobile Presence
Following Black Friday 2020, retailers saw a significant jump in their online activity and sales. If you have an established online presence, ensure that it is up-to-date and prepared for a flood of traffic.
If you exclusively operate from a physical location, evaluate your business on Google and Yelp pages to assure your customers have accurate information on your hours and location.
Expect The Unexpected.
Despite your greatest Black Friday planning efforts, remember that life has a high record of unpredictability- especially in business. These odds, coupled by the Covid-19 pandemic, urges your ability to skillfully adapt to changing environmental variables.
Develop emergency plans for the things you expect can go wrong and ensure you can readily adapt to changes as they happen for other issues. Accept that not everything will be perfect and focus on doing the best you can.
Black Friday is expected to bring an endless list of new challenges for small businesses. In addition to the ongoing Covid-19 concerns businesses have faced for the last 18 months, many businesses are also struggling with shortage of inventory, delays, and a country wide hiring crisis.
There are many concerns about the impact of this year’s holiday shopping season, but if we can assure one thing, is that it’s going to be a bumpy ride. By following these last-minute tips to prepare your business for Black Friday you will be in a much better position to embrace any potential obstacles.
However, sometimes, we can all use a little extra support. Our MCDA CCG find that while many business owners have established plans to manage through the holiday shopping season, they begin to overthink its functionality and fail to implement it in time-finding themselves scrambling to make it to the end of the year.
On the other hand, those without a plan entirely are at an increased risk of financial mistakes, HR discrepancies, and online malfunctions.
Ensure that your business is equipped to make the most out of the busiest time of the year by contacting one of our trusted advisors at MCDA CCG (headquartered in Placentia, Orange County, California), and we can work to align your customer expectations with your current position. If you wait any longer to make preparations, it may be too late, so call us today!