Retail Tips: How to Face Black Friday Sale 2023 Challenges
Modern Black Friday Sale 2023 challenges need modern solutions—like electronic shelf labels that can centralize your product inventory and make your retail operations ready for incoming Black Friday orders.
The holiday season is around the corner! And with it, comes holiday shopping, and there’s no better event that will jumpstart holiday shopping than the Black Friday Sale.
It’s no surprise that the Black Friday Sale is a big opportunity for a lot of retailers (and consumers). This once-a-year shopping event attracts millions of customers and brings in billions of dollars in profit. But first, retailers need to be prepared.
So how exactly can the Black Friday Sale impact retailers, and how can retail stores face the unique challenges that Black Friday Sale 2023 will bring?
What is the Black Friday Sale?
Black Friday Sale is a shopping event widely known in the United States and other countries. It’s known as the “Black Friday Sale” as it occurs on Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving Thursday in the United States.
Many consider the Black Friday Sale to be the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, with consumers all over various countries taking advantage of massive discounts, special promotions, and limited offers. Both physical and online retailers join the Black Friday Sale, with some even extending the sale for the whole weekend until Monday (known as “Cyber Monday”). People have also called it Cyber Week, for the retailers who extend the sale throughout the week.
Over the years, Black Friday has evolved into a major shopping extravaganza, with retailers offering significant discounts on a wide range of products. This includes electronics and appliances, clothing and fashion items, household items, toys, books, and more.
Many consumers look forward to Black Friday sales to get a head start on their holiday shopping or to take advantage of the discounted prices to purchase items for themselves. It has become a cultural phenomenon and a key date on the retail calendar, with some people camping out in front of stores or waking up early to secure the best deals.
What types of stores launch the Black Friday Sale?
Black Friday sales are not limited to specific types of stores or industries. In fact, they encompass a wide range of retailers and products. While some industries and businesses have historically been more prominent in offering Black Friday deals, many different types of stores now participate in this shopping event.
Here are some examples of the types of stores and industries that commonly launch Black Friday sales:
- Electronics Retailers: Electronics stores often offer significant discounts on items such as televisions, smartphones, laptops, gaming consoles, and other gadgets and accessories for electronics.
- Department Stores: Large department stores are sure to offer Black Friday sales on a wide variety of products, including clothing, home goods, and accessories.
- Apparel and Fashion Retailers: Clothing and fashion retailers, from high-end boutiques to fast-fashion brands, frequently participate in Black Friday sales by offering deals on clothing, shoes, and fashion accessories.
- Home Improvement Stores: Home improvement and hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowe's may provide discounts on tools, appliances, and home improvement or DIY supplies.
- Toy Stores: With the holiday season approaching, toy stores and gaming retailers often offer Black Friday discounts on popular toys and games.
- Various Online Retailers: E-commerce giants like Amazon, as well as numerous other online retailers, have become major players in the Black Friday sales event, offering discounts on a wide range of products for those who prefer shopping online.
- Furniture Stores: Furniture retailers may promote sales on sofas, beds, dining sets, and other home furnishings.
- Appliance Retailers: Retailers that specialize in appliances often provide deals on refrigerators, washers, dryers, and more.
- Sporting Goods Stores: Sports equipment and apparel retailers often offer Black Friday discounts on items like athletic gear, outdoor equipment, and workout clothing.
- Beauty and Cosmetics Retailers: Beauty and cosmetics stores also frequently participate in Black Friday Sale. They offer discounts on makeup, skincare products, and grooming items.
- Specialty Stores: Many specialty stores, such as those selling jewelry, eyewear, and specialty foods, also offer Black Friday promotions to consumers.
- Automotive Retailers: Some auto parts stores and car dealerships may provide discounts on automotive products and services.
- Travel and Airlines: Travel agencies, airlines, and booking platforms often offer Black Friday deals on flights, hotel stays, vacation packages, and more. People who love to travel or are planning vacations can take advantage of this.
- Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs: Local and small businesses, as well as individual entrepreneurs, may participate in a Black Friday Sale. This is especially true in shopping districts or downtown areas, offering unique and handcrafted items, or in their online stores.
It’s also important to note that the Black Friday Sale frenzy has expanded beyond the United States. Now, the Black Friday Sale is able to influence the global shopping culture. Retailers in countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, Switzerland, India, Mexico, Germany, and more have started jumping on significant shopping events to attract customers and grow their businesses.
How does the Black Friday Sale impact retailers?
So how exactly does the Black Friday Sale impact these retailers? This particular shopping event has turned into a phenomenon and can be incredibly effective for retailers if executed properly.
Here's a look at how Black Friday can affect retailers:
- Increased Sales: Black Friday typically results in a substantial boost in sales for retailers. Many consumers are motivated by the prospect of getting significant discounts and, therefore, make purchases they might have postponed.
- Clearing Inventory: Retailers can use a Black Friday Sale as an opportunity to clear out excess or outdated inventory, making room for new merchandise. This is particularly important in industries like fashion, electronics, and seasonal goods.
- Customer Acquisition: Black Friday can attract new customers to a store or website. The attractive deals and promotions serve as a way to introduce consumers to a retailer's offerings and potentially turn them into repeat customers.
- Brand Visibility: Retailers often invest heavily in advertising and marketing for Black Friday. This increased visibility can help strengthen brand recognition and customer loyalty in the future.
- Online Sales Growth: With the rise of e-commerce, Black Friday has become a major online shopping event for both retailers and consumers alike. Retailers can tap into the growing trend of online shopping and benefit from the increased traffic to their websites.
- Data Collection: Black Friday provides an opportunity for retailers to gather valuable data on customer behavior, preferences, and shopping patterns. This can help inform future marketing and sales strategies for a lot of businesses.
If these benefits are still hard to process, let’s take a look at the numbers to put things in perspective. Here are a few Black Friday Sale statistics:
- Black Friday online sales grew to $65.3 billion (a 3.5% increase) globally in 2022. (Salesforce)
- In-store sales on Black Friday increased 12% year over year in the United States, while e-commerce sales grew 14%. (Mastercard)
- Black Friday Sale was the biggest day for in-store shopping in the U.S. in 2022, reaching over 72.9 million consumers, and up almost 15% year over year. (National Retail Federation)
- According to a survey conducted in 17 countries in 2022, 43% of global consumers planned to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to shop for the holiday season. (Statista)
- The top destinations for 2022 Cyber Week shoppers in the U.S. were online (42%), department stores (42%), grocery stores and supermarkets (40%), clothing and accessories stores (36%), and discount stores (32%), (National Retail Federation)
What challenges do retailers face during Black Friday Sales?
Though a Black Friday Sale is known to have a positive impact on retailers and the retail industry as a whole, the affair is not all rainbows and sunshine. The truth is that a phenomenon like this is bound to have some negative or unique challenges, especially for retailers.
Here are some of the common challenges retailers face during the Black Friday Sale:
- E-commerce stores as competitors
- Omnichannel retailing
- Employee fatigue
- Rising purchase returns
- Inventory management
- Price changes and accuracy
- In-store damages
How can retailers face these challenges?
If you’re a retailer who is looking forward to joining the Black Friday Sale this 2023, you need to be prepared. You need to face these challenges head-on and make sure you have a successful Black Friday Sale, all the while providing a good shopping experience for your customers.
Here are a few retail tips on facing these Black Friday Sale 2023 challenges:
Challenge #1: E-commerce stores as competitors
E-commerce shopping is on the rise, and with the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting communities, it’s no surprise that there has been a decrease in in-store shopping, camping out in front of retail stores, and more. According to Salesforce, online sales across Cyber Week grew 2% year over year, reaching $281 billion globally in 2022. Rising online competitors can surely be expected.
Suggested solution: Fix your online store or website and make sure your inventory is in sync with your physical store. Retailers can also turn to social media to double their marketing efforts and let shoppers know that they can shop from you online as well.
Challenge #2: Omnichannel retailing
Omnichannel retailing can be connected to the rising online competitors as well. Omnichannel retailing means being able to meet the customers’ needs of completing transactions in multiple channels and platforms, including offline and online.
Suggested solution: Implement digital labels or electronic shelf labels (ESL) in your store. A solution as simple yet powerful as this can enhance your retail operations, not just for Black Friday Sale 2023, but all the time. This is because electronic shelf labels have a significant impact on omnichannel retailing.
SOLUM ESL Newton labels, for example, can provide mobile payments with its NFC (near-field communication) capability, integrate your physical inventory with the online inventory through its label management system, ensure accurate product pricing and information in-store, improve the shopping experience for your customers, and more. This is a good start to combat those omnichannel retail challenges this Black Friday Sale 2023.
Challenge #3: Employee fatigue
Working in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, during Cyber Week, and after can take a toll on retail employees. Most of the time, the long hours, demanding day shifts, and overnight shifts can lead to employee fatigue and burnout. Employee fatigue can be described as a “feeling of weariness, tiredness, or lack of energy”.
Suggested solution: Implement modern solutions that will enhance operational efficiency and free up time for your employees. For example, electronic shelf labels, apart from solving omnichannel challenges, will also be able to reduce the labor and time your employees spend on changing price tags, checking inventory levels, re-checking product prices, and more.
Better shift management can also help combat employee fatigue on Black Friday and Cyber Week. Make sure you have the right staff, and that they have the right breaks and shift turnovers during this big shopping event.
Challenge #4: Rising purchase returns
In 2022, Salesforce data showed that returned purchases in the holiday season reached 1.39 billion, accounting for 13% of total holiday orders and a 63% increase in returns year over year. This means that retailers will be facing a significant amount of returns after the Black Friday Sale 2023 as well.
Some of the reasons for these returns include incorrect or damaged items, late delivery, or the fact that the product description didn’t match the actual product.
Suggested solution: To reduce product returns, retailers need to be more strict and meticulous with order picking and quality control. Make sure you are shipping the right product to your customers, and that it is packaged properly. Accurate and detailed product descriptions are also a must if you want your online customers to have faith in your brand. And of course, retailers can also encourage product exchanges instead of product returns.
Challenge #5: Inventory management
Managing inventory or orders during a Black Friday Sale or the whole Cyber Week is going to be demanding for all retailers and staff. Stores have to keep up with both offline and online orders and manage inventory every hour and every day. Soldout items and inaccurate inventory might lead to more complications for the store.
Suggested solution: Utilize digital labels with an automated inventory management system. SOLUM electronic shelf labels, for instance, are more than just electronic versions or price tags. With the label management system, Aims, these SOLUM labels can help retailers manage their inventory more accurately throughout the entire sale and beyond. Staff can check inventory levels of certain products, make sure retail shelves are stocked and ready, update inventory in real-time, and more.
Challenge #6: Price changes and accuracy
Most retailers will also have a problem with pricing during the Black Friday Sale. Particularly, making sure that the whole store, the online store, and other shopping channels have accurate pricing details for the sale. Inaccurate prices can lead to problems at checkout, lower customer satisfaction, lower customer trust, and more.
Suggested solution: Unlike paper price tags, electronic shelf labels can be updated within a few clicks and in a few minutes. Having these labels inside your retail store will reduce manual labor and time when it comes to updating prices. This strengthens accuracy and readiness all across the store and your shopping channels, ensuring that shoppers have a smooth checkout process.
Challenge #7: In-store damages
Black Friday sales are known to spark fights, brawls, heavy foot traffic, and more. This is because the significant discounts and limited stock can prompt consumers to act and react aggressively and urgently. And unfortunately for physical stores, these mean in-store damages.
Suggested solution: If you’re expecting a big crowd, it’s best to get adequate security, which will help keep peace and order, and protect the shoppers and your staff.
For heavy foot traffic, you can also take advantage of the built-in protection cover of digital labels. This means that the price tags of every item or the digital labels around the retail establishment are protected from thick crowds and can withstand heavy foot traffic and activity.
Black Friday sales are an incredible opportunity for a lot of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and big retail brands. But without the right preparation, you won’t be able to keep up with the demands of the consumers. Keep these retail tips in mind as you get ready for the Black Friday Sale 2023.
For an ESL solution that will level up your store for the Black Friday Sale and beyond, talk to SOLUM experts now! Find out how you can take advantage of a fully automated system to streamline retail operations.