Tips for a safe and profitable Black Friday

By Perry Kuklin, Lavi Industries

Black Friday weekend is here to mark the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season. Retailers have been charged with a dizzying array of details to make this notoriously exciting, crowded, and frenzied weekend a success. From staffing and stocking to security, crowd management, and safety, the responsibilities are far-reaching.

When it comes to crowd management, safety is the first priority. More shoppers equates to greater risk and a greater requirement to keep the atmosphere safe. Safety is generally not among a retailer’s core competencies but many have discovered that a commitment to safety can go hand-in-hand with operational enhancements that can boost productivity by as much as 35 percent. Effective safety and crowd management begins with planning and pre-event setup, and includes actions taken during the event. It also involves plans for handling emergencies.

Perhaps the most remarkable characteristic of Black Friday is the long checkout lines. For retailers, the adage “time is money” is never truer than when considering the queues of Black Friday. Sure, customers are willing to wait a while for a great deal, but they aren’t willing to put up with poorly managed queues. In fact, the financial impacts of queue mismanagement can be significant — just a 5 percent loss of total in-store sales during last year’s Black Friday period due to line balking and reneging, would translate to over $1 billion in lost sales.

Furthermore, queues are worthy of attention since retailers have both a duty and an opportunity to make their checkout lines safer and more profitable. To achieve this dual imperative, retailers will rely on a combination of practices designed to improve safety, reduce wait times, improve productivity, and enhance the customer experience.

The following presentation showcases best practices and tips from the National Retail Federation, OSHA, and Lavi Industries to help retailers survive and thrive during Black Friday and other busy retail events:

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