With Christmas lights beginning to adorn the high streets, there is no more ignoring it, the festive season is well and truly upon us and, with it, so is Black Friday. Arriving in the UK from across the pond, bargain shoppers spent an estimated £810m last year alone; there is clearly huge potential for retailers to boost their sales, as well as the potential for mayhem to ensue. Indeed, last year, riots broke out in shops with bargain hunters scrapping over TV screens. As a result, the stores taking part in Black Friday need to ensure they can deal with the increased footfall and demand on the day.
Customers will still expect the best service possible and will not take kindly to delays in paying. Ensuring that tills are working efficiently and that EPOS devices are fully functional is one step in appeasing the situation; preventing queues from forming and tensions from rising. Should a till, or any other piece of equipment, go down, retailers need to ensure then that they have a contingency plan in place to deal with broken devices. It’s a little early for Santa’s sleigh to hit the skies for delivery; instead the responsibility lies with tech partners which have the expertise to manage the slick running of business’s supply chains and get replacement parts delivered safely and efficiently. So, what exactly is the job at hand?
Perhaps the most crucial step, is to increase resources for peak trading; it’s imperative that additional resources are on standby if needed for the entire ‘holiday’; pre, during and post Black Friday. Should a device go down the day before Black Friday, that shop will have one less outlet to process purchases which will anger customers and lead to loss of sales. Tech partners should have extra staff on standby throughout the entire period to ensure that replacement parts are sent out as quickly as possible so that retailers can operate in the most efficient manner.
Tech companies should ensure that all jobs are carefully assessed by tech service managers in order to; plan routes, minimise any potential delays and identify pinch points. As the saying goes, ‘forewarned is forearmed’ and knowing exactly where stock is in the supply chain, and where there is likely to be increased traffic, will enable engineers to get parts out to replace faulty or broken equipment smoothly and quickly.
These two steps are imperative to the successful management of retail supply chains during Black Friday. But equally as important: tech partners organising the supply chains must ensure that their customer service team maintains a steady flow of communication between technicians and retailers to keep everyone abreast of potential delays. Even with the tightest of plans in place, problems can occur, and keeping retailers updated on the situation enables them to manage customer expectations in-store.
It is essential that retailers have the technology and infrastructure in place to be able to deal with such vast numbers of shoppers; else they may find employees unable to deal with the strain. We’re gearing up for arguably one for the busiest times of the year for retail, and working with a suitable tech partner to implement an effective contingency plan in the case of a break down, will enable businesses to ensure there is a steady flow of parts and EPOS devices, so that they can run as smoothly as possible. In this way, tech partners operating in the background can enable retailers to turn Black Friday, golden.
Mark Garritt is Managing Director at ByBox