Black Friday is one of the most significant events in the retail calendar, attracting crowds of customers and generating massive revenues. For many companies, it's a moment that can determine their annual results. That's why preparation for this special period, which now typically extends into the entire Cyber Week, begins long before the actual event.
Preparation for Black Friday starts with a thorough analysis of the previous season.
Analysis of the Previous Period and Reflection
This is the time to examine both the processes and systems that were used. It's worth considering what went well and what could have been done better. Root cause analysis allows you to identify the source of problems and errors that occurred during previous Black Fridays.
Development of an Action Plan
Based on the analysis of past years' situations, it's valuable to develop a precise action plan. Start preparations well in advance to ensure you have necessary purchases, such as additional equipment like terminals or PC stations that can help serve a larger number of customers, installed and your staff trained to fully benefit from them. Expanding areas that were sources of problems in previous periods can bring you tangible benefits and certainly help avoid losses due to shortages in that area.
Process and System Changes
Implementing process and system changes is crucial and also requires advance action. Plan the promotions you want to offer to customers in advance and make sure to inform warehouse management about them. They will have a chance to prepare the necessary resources. If you plan to offer bundles, pack them in advance to avoid last-minute product assembly. If a particular item will be offered at a particularly attractive price, move its stock closer to packing stations, and so on. It's also worth introducing new solutions, such as batch picking processes or automatic labeling. These changes can increase efficiency and shorten order processing times. When implementing changes, be sure to test them functionally and provide adequate training to employees to ensure they are an improvement rather than a hindrance.
Resources Are Worth Their Weight in Gold
An important part of preparations is not only adjusting processes but, above all, planning resources for Black Friday. Additional staff and transport resources may be necessary to cope with increased in-store traffic.
And, of course, the merchandise... The best processes won't help if there's nothing to pack and ship, so make sure to plan the inventory that matches your customers' preferences well in advance.
Planning for the Entire Year
Preparations for Black Friday start in January. Planning begins with a review of the previous season and the development of a change plan. The execution of tasks must be spread out over time because many of them cannot be completed in a short period, such as purchasing a new WMS system, establishing cooperation with a logistics or fulfillment operator, or switching from the current service provider to a new one. Only with such a long time horizon can this be organized.
Since we are publishing this set of tips at the end of October, you may not have enough time to fully implement them before the approaching peak sales period. However, you will be perfectly prepared for the next season. And if not... feel free to reach out to us 😉
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