Black Friday: Lessons Learned


Black Friday has come and gone this year. With lines shorter and sales lower at brick and mortar stores as detailed by ShopperTrak, a retail analytics firm, that estimate that brick-and-mortar retail sales were $12.1 billion, down from $12.3 billion last year.

Black Friday just doesn’t seem as important as it has been in the past. Why? Because more people are shopping online.

Another firm, Adobe, aggregated sales from thousands of retail websites, showed shoppers spent $7.2 billion online on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, which is a 14.3 percent increase over last year, with one-third of these purchases from mobile devices.

It is clear that the age-old tradition of holiday shopping with family and friends is gone – unless you are shopping online! Let’s look at what lessons retailers can learn from this Black Friday.

1. Avoid technical difficulties with your website. Last year, Best Buy suffered a big outage. This year, went down hard on Friday. Big box retailers can be susceptible to overwhelming Web traffic, so make sure your website can handle the surge, even if you have to rent extra servers.

2. Avoid out-of-stocks. Even with all the preparation, some retailers run out of items. Look at reports from previous years to help decide the right amount of stock.

3. Keep inventory organized. Group items on storage shelves based on categories, like size, color, article of clothing, type of wine, etc., which will save time when fulfilling orders. However, the best way to streamline your inventory is to slot items based on throughput.

4. If you don’t have enough space – make it! Use a dynamic storage solution like UNEX Span-Track that allows you to utilize the entire rack depth of the pallet. Many companies just use the front part of their shelves to store products because they are easier to reach. With Span-Track, pickers can quickly and easily reach products as they flow forward when ones in front are picked.

Hopefully you can take these tips and use them for any upcoming promotions you may have during the holiday season. Most importantly, be flexible, but be ready for anything to happen. And you can be ready by being organized – have products at your fingertips to fulfill orders to keep your customers happy.