After stuffing themselves with turkey and, well, stuffing, on Thanksgiving, millions of Americans roll out of bed, shake off their tryptophan-induced comas bright and early and get in line for the best possible deals on Black Friday. In recent years, the event has spread to international markets with bargain hunters in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Europe flocking to malls. But this year, things are different.
Thanks to the pandemic, the high holy day of shopping won’t exactly look like those of previous years.
Consumers are heeding public health official’s advice and veering away from shopping in-store as cases surge. According to Deloitte, more consumers (61%) are planning to shop online on Black Friday than in stores (54%) in a history-making first. In the age of coronavirus and social distancing, retailers across the globe have been making changes to brick-and-mortar Black Friday sales, dispersing demand, restricting hours, and reducing crowds.
For retailers, Black Friday is a boon. And after a tough 2020, the annual billion dollar sales driver would not go astray for many businesses. As a result, retailers have done what we’ve all practiced time and time again during this unprecedented year – they’ve pivoted.
And so, Black Friday turns into Cyber Month, where blockbuster deals are made available to consumers for extended periods of time, curtailing crowds in store.
According to retailer Best Buy – “Black Friday isn’t just one day this year — it’s months long.”
How To Prepare For Black Friday (or Cyber Month) If You’re A Retailer
If your business is employing the Cyber Month mentality, these are some measures you can put in place to keep your employees and customers safe during the holiday season.
Social distancing measures and floor/in-store guides
By communicating a flow of footfall traffic around the store with floor stickers, you can easily show customers to adhere to distancing rules, minimizing the risk that staff will contract the virus from customers and keeping community spread at bay.
Clear and compelling signage
Set your expectations from the outset with clear and eye-catching signage. In-store posters that enforce measures like mask-wearing and social distancing can help increase compliance, and give shoppers and staff peace of mind that your store is doing all it can. Take stock of your current in-store signage. Is the guidance communicated easy to understand, accurate, and clear? If they’re needing a refresh, we’ve partnered with graphic design experts Canva to launch a range of COVID-19 Health and Safety downloadable templates. These range from in-store posters, social media posts, and stories.
COVID cleaning checklists
By using one or more COVID-19 cleaning templates, every member can access this template on the shop floor via their mobile phone. They can assign actions to members of staff, report if something isn’t sanitized properly, and make sure measures are enforced. Even if COVID-19 presents itself, a frequent and regular approach to cleaning means that the virus is stamped out before it affects people.
Visitor log and health check which becomes their basis for contact tracing
On entry to your store, your customers will feel safer if they know you’re doing all you can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. You could even make it fun by entering visitor logs into a monthly prize draw.
To ensure safety of your staff and customers, temperature checks can be used by the security or a dedicated staff member at the entry of your shop using a contactless thermometer. This is a trusted way to ensure no one with a fever enters the building. Staff can use this opportunity to balance safety with personal service; personalized greetings and offering hand sanitizer upon entry shows your customers that you care about their experience and their safety.
How To Stay Safe If You’re A Customer
Start with this rule of thumb — this year, take your sale surfing online. But, if you plan on heading in-store, be sure to bring a face covering — or risk being refused entry. Also, you’ll need extreme fortitude. Long lines await as health-expert guidelines dictate individuals stay six to 10 feet apart.
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