how to survive black friday in retail

How to Support Your Store Teams Working on Black Friday

Nov 21, 2022 11:30:00 AM

Black Friday. Two words that can strike both excitement and fear into the hearts of shoppers and store associates alike.

We all know how crazy Black Friday (and its younger sibling, Cyber Monday) has been in the past, and although a growing number of brands are branching out from typical Black Friday sales, it is still the biggest shopping event of the year.

Even if the surge in store traffic at this time of year might not be as extreme as in previous years,  there’s still a lot of strain on store teams. 

For Black Friday 2022 to be a resounding success, it is essential to prepare sales associates for the big event. Here are some top tips to support your store teams working on black friday:

Start preparing early - like, really early

At least a month in advance, if not earlier.

According to the National Retail Federation, 46% of holiday shoppers will start browsing and buying seasonal items before Halloween, and it is increasingly common for people to take advantage of Black Friday by buying most of their presents at a heavily discounted price.

This year, starting early is smart for a different reason. The inflation may be motivating many consumers to start their holiday shopping early: 44% of holiday shoppers believe it’s better to purchase holiday gifts and other items now, in case prices continue to rise.

To keep things running as efficiently as possible and not test the patience of their customers, stores must:

  • Be fully briefed by HQ teams on what promotions will be offered and what targets they are expected to hit
  • Determine which older stock needs to be cleared and strategize on how best to promote these products
  • Take stock of inventory a couple of weeks before and anticipate which products might be in higher demand
  • Make sure all in-store tech is functioning and up-to-date - nobody wants their POS system to fail them on the busiest day of the year 

Spend extra time on staff training

Naturally, an increase in store traffic means an increase in workload for store teams.

Most retailers usually hire extra staff in the run-up to Christmas, but in the post-COVID-19 era, companies have had to drastically downsize and work on a reduced rota.

But the number of sales associates you have isn’t that important, as long as they’ve been properly trained in how to deal with the demands of such a huge shopping event.

Particularly important topics for Black Friday training include controlling crowds, handling angry customers, and avoiding shoplifting. Consumers are looking to get in and out of stores as quickly as possible right now, and they will give up if store teams can’t keep up with their demands. 

In addition to in-store shopping, many customers will use omnichannel services like click & collect to avoid crowds. Your store teams will need to be able to deliver an impeccable customer experience in all its various forms so training is essential.

Be ready for anything

Even if your store team has been prepped to within an inch of their lives, it is still possible for unexpected problems to arise on the day.

Granted, Black Friday isn’t going to look like this in 2020:

But shopping in-store in the COVID-19 era brings its own unique set of problems, meaning store teams can still be overwhelmed and key details can still be overlooked.

That’s why it’s so important to have a contingency plan for any potential problem, no matter how unlikely. If you expect the worst-case scenario and arm yourself accordingly, nothing can faze you - even shoppers arguing over the last set of speakers or designer handbag.


"Fantastic results from our Black Friday campaign and thanks to YOOBIC they all launched on the same day, on time!" - The Foschini Group. YOOBIC helps 350+ customers deliver the perfect customer experience in every store through streamlined store communications, task management, and training.