It’s still a few months away, but Black Friday is fast approaching. Indeed, as we enter the dog days of summer, retailers and customers alike usually begin to plan for Black Friday shopping.
Of course, this Black Friday will be like no other. COVID-19 will still be impacting our world, making retail crowds impossible to imagine and making it more likely than ever that shopping will occur online, not in person.
As such, small business stores online need to shift their focus now in order to prepare for a new Black Friday. Here are some thoughts about how they can do that.
Change in Marketing
Marketing to customers is no longer just about reminding them of your products and services. Now, it’s about enticing them to shop with you – even if you can’t be in the same physical location. As such, marketing materials must change. What was once “Deals on shoes this Black Friday” have been replaced with, “Get ready for online Black Friday shoe deals!”
Indeed, this change in marketing requires entirely new messaging, methods of communication, images with marketing material, and more. As such, the best thing any retailer can do is completely reexamine their marketing materials and determine how to change their marketing methods in order to incorporate the idea of socially distant shopping.
Altered Layouts and Improved Hygiene
In order to get customers into your store, you have to make them feel comfortable and safe. Indeed, the only way that people will ever be willing to physically shop again is if they feel like they can do so comfortably, without putting themselves and their families at risk.
If you are going to have people in your physical location during Black Friday, ask yourself how you can alter the layout of your store to accompany the new need for social distancing. Can you make aisles run certain ways so that crowds mix less often? Can you widen aisles to allow for the recommended six feet of social distancing?
From a hygiene perspective, have you equipped your cash registers with plexiglass to protect your customers and employees? Do you have hand sanitizer stations located throughout your store to allow for employees and customers to regularly clean their hands?
In many cases, governments have imposed strict crowd limitations on how many people can be inside of a location at once. Other local governmental units haven’t done so, but people tend to get nervous at entering big, crowded rooms.
As such, when preparing for Black Friday, your store may want to look into limiting the number of people who can be in your physical location at once. The question for you becomes this: How can you do this? Can you make an appointment system? How will you communicate these new limitations with your customers? What do you need to do in order to make it so that your customers understand that they may not be able to do their Black Friday shopping immediately, and how can you communicate alternatives to your physical location to them?
Remember, Black Friday may seem far away, but it will be here before you know it. The best thing any business can do is begin planning now.