Is Black Friday Good for Canadian Retailers?

As we plan and work with more retailers across Canada, a topic that continues to come up is the hotly debated Black Friday. Is this a sign of American big box stores dominating the retail landscape in Canada to meet their aggressive targets or is it in fact a viable marketing tool for the average Canadian retail operation?
Although there may be many takes on the above question I believe and many of our customers have found that the latter can be true with good planning! Yes, Black Friday can in fact be a well-planned and strategic effort to connect with your customer and influence their buying habits in the direction of your retail operations without having to give up the farm!
Here are 5 key factors for making your Black Friday competitive with the Big Box Stores:

  1. Know your strengths and play to them.
    Know what your strongest classifications are, why your customers shop with you and build a select offering within that classification that will give your customers a reason to visit.
  2. Don’t blow the store out.
    Your merchandise is fresh and you’re coming up to the most important time of the year to make good margins. By u Using a solid merchandise (Open To Buy) plan work, on classifications that need help and let the body of your solid classes that are inventoried correctly sell at full margin!
  3. Connect with the customer.
    Use Black Friday to be visible to your new and existing customers. Try adding a product clinic or a ‘meet the expert’ event to this week. Something that usually gets overlooked at this time is the quality of service you need to provide to have people coming back to your store more frequently in the new year. Promote your ability to help with your customers buying decisions in this often-stressful season.
  4. Clean out the cobwebs.
    OK so none of us are perfect! Use this time to correct buying errors. You have an audience so take advantage of that by sorting and grading of your inventory. Fall merchandise typically has landed and the Jury (your customer) has delivered its verdict. Make some of those tough decisions based on vendors, styles band sizes that have not moved, and use this to stoke the flames of the Black Friday event.
  5. Have fun!
    Hey, if we are going to do this lets make it fun! Lift the spirits of your staff and customers at the same time and embrace this time for what it is: the most enjoyable time as a retailer to connect and be part of your customers lives. Make the spirit of everything you do around Black Friday an event to further build your relationships and create happiness! Make happiness your goal for this time and results will follow!

So lets do this thing smart, calculated and considerate, and have some fun, EH!

Scott Smith is a certified Winning@Retail™ consultant at CRS. Scott has worked with retailers for over 20 years on the sales floor, through all levels of retail management, operations, and marketing.