Ah, Black Friday. It's still over a month away, and you're probably already sick of hearing about it. We even wrote a blog about it just last week!
Well, don’t expect the Black Friday discussions to go away any time soon - as soon as this year’s event is over, some retailers will be planning for BFCM 2019.
In last week’s blog, we talked about how retailers can make life easier for their store teams in the run-up to Black Friday.
But it’s not just a difficult time for sales associates - area managers also have to deal with a lot of pressure at this time of year, as it falls on them to ensure that every store is following HQ guidelines to the letter and promotions are launched on time.
So how can area managers get the best out of Black Friday without working themselves into the ground?
Use last year’s data to their advantage
With so many stores to visit in such a short space of time, area managers are spread pretty thin over Black Friday.
One way that they can maximize their limited time is by studying data from previous Black Friday sales and using them to anticipate this year’s trends.
For example, examining reports from your company’s POS software can give you an idea of what your peak hours were - this way, area managers can make more intelligent staffing decisions and avoid unnecessary congestion in-store.
Data from previous Black Fridays, and the run-up to them, can also be used to determine which stores need a little extra help. Think of it like a classroom situation: even though every student is treated equally, some always need more help. The same goes for area managers and store teams - in theory it makes sense for area managers to split their time equally, but in reality it doesn’t work that way.
There will naturally be some stores that need very little help, and some that need… well, a lot. Splitting their time according to who needs the most attention will save area managers valuable hours.
Make store-area manager communication lightning fast
So, we’ve already established that time-saving is a key element in improving the efficiency of area managers. Another way to make good use of their limited hours is to improve the channels of communication between them and their store teams.
A successful company should function like a well-oiled machine, with each part working perfectly in-sync with all the others. And if the machine is starting to malfunction, you need to pinpoint the problem and fix it.
For retailers, the problem is slow and inefficient communication. In fact, 65% of HQ Retail Staff think that store teams having difficulty understanding instructions impacts execution. Most retailers we speak with currently communicate via a combination of mostly emails and texts, with no cohesive system in place.
If area managers had one tool with which to communicate with their stores and check that they are all complying with visual and promotional guidelines, they wouldn’t need to visit as many stores in person and would have more time to prepare for the madness of Black Friday.
Get rid of time-consuming admin processes
The same thing goes for the laborious admin processes that area managers currently have to complete when visiting stores.
Most store visit procedures are outdated and inefficient - having to send pictures separately in an email, for example, makes no sense in an era of smart technology.
With an event like Black Friday, there really is no time to waste.
Having a digitized store visit tool will allow area managers to easily collect and access information on each store - information which will be vital in the lead up to the biggest shopping event of the year.
All of these time-saving techniques will help things run smoothly in-store, which in turn causes fewer headaches for area managers on the day.
"Fantastic results from our Black Friday campaign and thanks to YOOBIC they all launched on the same day, on time!" - The Foschini Group