The keys to planning a successful Black Friday sales campaign

With ‘non-essential’ stores in certain parts of the country forced to temporarily close, now is the ideal time for meticulous planning around how to best clear stock and create exciting offers that will appeal to customers once stores are able to open their doors.

Given the current challenges faced by many retailers affected by lockdowns and restricted trading in some parts of Australia, Black Friday will be a welcome opportunity to make up for lost sales.

After all, Black Friday was originally initiated by American retailers who saw the event as a way to entice shoppers in the lead-up to Christmas; a turning point when they start to generate a profit and financially go back into the black, hence the name Black Friday. 

This sentiment will not be lost on retailers this year, particularly those that rely on physical shopfronts, with Black Friday now recognised as the most popular shopping event in Australia, trumping Boxing Day as Australia’s most anticipated shopping opportunity.

The popularity of Black Friday in Australia has surged in recent years due, in part, to its traditional deep discounting. Back in 2017, only four per cent of Australians reported knowing about Black Friday compared to 24 per cent in 2021 according to research group McCrindle. With ‘non-essential’ stores in certain parts of the country forced to temporarily close, now is the ideal time for meticulous planning around how to best clear stock and create exciting offers that will appeal to customers once stores are able to open their doors.

Meet customer demand and expectations

Review stock levels and determine which items will be marked for sale. It is important to identify product range gaps that customers will be looking for, especially given the current logistical issues emerging through international supply chains causing shipment delays and cost constraints. Many countries are now emerging from COVID-19 and this has brought a resurgence of spending which is causing some manufacturers to increase their supply.

What is crucial during sale periods is that there is enough stock to meet demand during the first day of sales trade, especially if the item is promoted in a catalogue.

Other strategies some retailers deploy are blanket sales with up to 10, 20 or 30 per cent off selected full price products or ranges to help move stock and encourage foot traffic.

Communicate with customers

In the leadup to Black Friday, there is a compelling opportunity to capitalise on the shopper sentiment by reminding them that Christmas is just weeks away. With consumers flooded with promotional offers, catalogues, and advertising in the days and hours prior to Black Friday, it’s also important that retailers have their house in order, shelves are stocked and customer communication about when their sale will begin is ready to go. It is also wise to keep an eye on competitors to ensure sales offerings are competitive.

With the Black Friday shopping frenzy continuing into Cyber Monday, where new or deeper discounted offers are traditionally skewed towards e-commerce, there is an opportunity to keep tills ringing and capture savvy customers who may be waiting to pounce on last-minute offers or purchase for the sake of a sale.

Check in-store displays are both strategic and engaging

As customers flock to stores to purchase items, it is important to train sales staff about recommending complementary products that can provide added value to their offering. For example, a customer purchasing a laptop might need a printer, software or laptop bag. Enhancing cross-selling opportunities by optimising store layouts and shelving displays can also help keep customers instore. Retailers should also pay attention to point of purchase sales opportunities and areas where customers naturally gravitate towards as they make their way to the front of store and checkouts.

Staffing and hygiene management

While retailers have implemented COVID-safe plans, the ongoing requirement for QR codes may require extra staffing at the front door including crowd management to ensure capacity levels are adhered to. Additional in-store resourcing may also be required to help prepare sales stock and signage in the days leading up to or during the event to meet customer demands. Hygiene will also play an important role with hand sanitising stations across the store as well as frequent cleaning of store surfaces and high touch point areas including interactive displays. Retailers should also have a COVID-19 exposure site contingency plan in place to ensure back-up staff are available to work should any of the team need to self-isolate or get tested.

Leveraging field staff

While brand ambassadors and field merchandising staff can provide valuable assistance during Black Friday, by preparing stock and in-store sales promotions, there is an emerging shift towards virtual retail assistants and e-commerce customer service support. Such services are becoming increasingly valuable for brands looking to enhance customer experience and educate customers during uncertain times when mandatory store closures could be required at short notice.

For brands looking to leverage peak sales events like Black Friday, the core principals of merchandising, ticketing and promotional tactics remain crucial for maximising sales. CROSSMARK’s in store retail services which includes live reporting helps identify out of stock items, sales trends and other inefficiencies that can make all the difference to a product’s instore performance during this important trading period.

Anthony Di Francesco

Anthony Di Francesco

Ant's divisions specialise in merchandising, field sales and experiential brand ambassadors. Anthony has developed his career off the back of 15 years of experience in retail, sales and marketing, working with clients to ensure first-class results are achieved whilst innovating best practice solutions with his team. His divisions work with a diverse mix of brands and retailers ranging from small Australian players to global market-leading brands.