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How to Maximize Your Customers’ Black Friday Shopping Experience

While most families are eating their Thanksgiving dinner, retailers are bracing themselves for the greatest shopping season of all: the end-of-year holidays. After all, the traditional opening of the holiday shopping season, Black Friday, is just around the corner.

 

The weekend following Thanksgiving features a string of days where many consumers are off work and want something useful to do with their free time. And what’s more useful than buying all holiday gifts, plus a little extra for themselves, all at a great price?

 

On Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, marketing departments do everything in their power to entice consumers to their stores, both physical and online.

 

While price is important as well, a great deal alone is often not enough to entice a customer to buy from a shop where they felt neglected or unappreciated.

 

But those that want to be successful in the long term and convert consumers into loyal, returning customers need to do more than employ a few smart Black Friday advertising ideas.

 

Whether it’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Absolutely Any Other Day, shopping experience is one of the key features that determines if and when a customer will return to your store. While price is important as well, a great deal alone is often not enough to entice a customer to buy from a shop where they felt neglected or unappreciated.

 

But how do you provide great shopping experience on the days when everybody, or at least 137 million people go out shopping?

 
 

Customer Experience

 

Everybody expects Black Friday & Co. to be a crowded, stressful shopping experience when millions of shoppers scramble to get that last iPhone for a bargain price. This means two things for retailers:

 

1. Since customers expect hassle, they’re bound to be more tolerant of a small amount of hassle.

 

Like, a long line in front of the checkout? No problem. Website loads slowly? Understandable. It’s barely 9:30 and you’re already out of stock? How dare you!

 

2. Customers expect hassle. But what if you give them a smooth shopping experience instead?

 

Indeed, the best way to convert consumers to loyal, returning customers is to pleasantly surprise them. Which is easier said than done, especially on Black Friday. Or, is it?

 
 

Prepare Your Staff

 

A great customer experience starts with your employees. Their attitude toward customers is a major factor in how those customers perceive your business.

 

The holiday shopping season, but Black Friday weekend especially, is a difficult time for retail staff. Angry, tired, and impatient consumers demanding unreasonable things surely takes its toll on your employees’ morale.

 

It’s your job to keep it up. Make sure you show your employees how much you appreciate their efforts. Offer genuine two-way feedback to your staff. Let them know what they did well and where there’s room for improvement.

 

Offer incentives like “Employee of the Month,” year-end bonuses, or small insider competitions (for example, a prize to who sells the most ugly Christmas sweaters) to get your staff emotionally invested in their jobs.

 

Encourage them to share their feedback with you, and take their ideas seriously. Even if you’re unable or unwilling to act on their feedback, explain your reasons. That way, your staff will feel included.

 

Offer incentives like “Employee of the Month,” year-end bonuses, or small insider competitions (for example, a prize to who sells the most ugly Christmas sweaters) to get your staff emotionally invested in their jobs.

 

Training new staff and hiring seasonal helpers is a must if you expect a larger volume of customers during the prime shopping days. Whether store clerks of a brick-and-mortar shop or packers of a warehouse, extra workers need to be trained so they fit in smoothly with your regular staff.

 
 

Show Your Customers You Care

 

Most likely, customers were drawn to your store by your Black Friday marketing. Can you get them to return on any other day? If you treat them like royals, the answer is yes.

 

Pay attention to each and every customer. Greet them with a smile, and do your utmost to meet their requests. Show your customers how much you value their business, and they’ll appreciate your attention by remembering your store. Especially today, consumer memory is one of the most important retail currencies.

 

You can offer a little extra incentive as well. Give shoppers a voucher they can redeem at a later date (thus, they’ll have to return to you), discounted gift cards, a free product, or gift wrapping at no extra cost. These little things go a long way when it comes to customer loyalty.

 
 

Prepare Your Pipeline

 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing put a strain on retail pipelines. Even if you can’t fully predict actual demand, make sure your pipelines are as smooth as possible.

 

Optimize your inventory and get all your procedures, e.g. shipping, payments, and returns, in order. Both brick-and-mortar and ecommerce shops need to get this done in order to create a smooth shopping experience for their customers.

 
 

Top Black Friday Marketing Ideas

 

Consumers are bombarded with ads and information on any given day. Black Friday weekend takes it to a whole new level. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to come up with smart and out-of-the-box Black Friday advertising ideas.

 
 

Offer VIP Treatment

 

Send out an email to your subscribers offering them an extra 5% discount or a ticket to an early, exclusive shopping event at your store (like one hour before regular opening time). This will help get your customers excited about your products, since being treated as a VIP doesn’t happen very often to most people.

 
 

Mystery Promotions

 

If you want people to check your site regularly, launch a mystery offer. This Black Friday marketing idea wakes the fear of missing out (FOMO) in consumers, encouraging them to keep checking what kind of deals you put on top of your regular Black Friday promotions.

 

An extra 10% off? Buy-one-get-one (BOGO) on jeans? A $10 gift card with every purchase? You can offer something for every hour of Black Friday, forcing customers to keep your store in mind.

 
 

Use Teasers

 

Start your Black Friday advertising as early as possible. Drop teasers on your website and in your shop window, offering a peek into your upcoming deals.

 

Alternatively, you may use tease promotions to build up the excitement for the big weekend. For example, offer a 10% discount on items you plan to mark down by 40% on Black Friday, and tease your customers with the promotion.

 

Will you go any lower on Black Friday, or is this the best deal consumers can get? Will your stock hold until Black Friday? Some shoppers will prove to be unable to wait and buy the items at a higher price, while others will keep biding their time and see how low you’ll go.

 

It’s like a game of chicken. Will you go any lower on Black Friday, or is this the best deal consumers can get? Will your stock hold until Black Friday? Some shoppers will prove to be unable to wait and buy the items at a higher price, while others will keep biding their time and see how low you’ll go.

 

Whichever promotions you go with, remember that customer experience is a top priority. After all, your Black Friday marketing is like a promise, and how you deliver on that promise decides your customers’ shopping experience.