Like it or lump it, Black Friday has become one of the biggest dates in the retail calendar.

Here, Byron Ross, head of operations for jewellery e-tail giant Watch Shop, shares his top tips for businesses looking to participate in the discounting event…

Spread the word
It is a good idea for brands to spread the word as soon as they can. Ways that brands can do this include; posting banners online or writing blog posts around the main deals. Be mindful not to give away too much so that your customers have got some anticipation for the big day.


Take stock of the situation
Make sure to carry out a stock check before creating a Black Friday sales list. This will help to plan a strategy and understand how many items you have to go into the sales. Investing in an inventory system could help this hugely if there is any spare budget.

Prepare your site
Having a surge in traffic is a dream for any retailer but it could also crash your website. Make sure you test your server load capacity, this can be done free of charge and will ensure you are prepared for the high traffic. There are also many ways that you can tweak and improve the site speed, including simplifying the design, reducing image sizes and enabling browser caching.

Smart marketing
One of the main ways to tell people about Black Friday deals is through email marketing. Use striking visuals and copy to not only impress existing and previous customers but also reach out to potential new customers. Tease the campaign and what they can expect as well as giving loyal customers special discounts. Using sites like Mail Chimp can help build a well-targeted email.

Above and beyond service
It can be extremely hard work leading up to Black Friday but don’t let your customer service slip because it is too busy. Make sure there is enough staff to deal with any queries customers might have and prepare a list of responses to common questions. Free returns and shipping is a good way to keep customers happy during the event too.

Track your performance
To succeed during Black Friday, retailers need to know where the majority of traffic comes from, what customers are most interested in as well as their journey across the website. Google Analytics is the best tool to find these insights but there are also many different platforms that can help you find out more about your customer’s journey including Kissmetrics and Piwik.

Monitor the competition
Make sure to keep on top of competitor’s activity in the run-up to Black Friday as well as the festive period. Look at their websites and social media channels to learn from what they are doing right. If you can, sign up to receive competitors email updates and find out what they offer in terms of delivery or returns to make sure that you are offering customers similar or better deals.