AltaPay's top business tips to make the most out of Black Friday 2017

With Black Friday just around the corner and many retailers already underway with some fantastic deals and offers, the competition and the opportunities available to retailers is bigger than ever this year.

So what plans do you have in place this Black Friday? You may be thinking, its fine, we have an offer to promote this Black Friday. But have you taken the time to think about any operational issues that your business may experience due to increased demand and online traffic? The next couple of weeks are a busy time for many of our customers, so we have prepared 5 top tips which we hope will help your business have a successful Black Friday.

Learn From Last Year's Experience
Take time to reflect on last year's Black Friday event and utitlise this knowledge to your advantage. What worked well for your business? What didn't work so well? If this is your first Black Friday that you have participated in, start educating yourself now. A great place to start is by taking a look at your competitor's movements. Subscribe to their mailing list, follow their social media accounts and monitor their online activity through Google Alerts. These simple steps will provide you with powerful insights to key information such as their pricing strategy, product line and help you get creative with your offering.

Plan Ahead From An Operational Perspective
According to the Telegraph Britons spent a record £5.8 billion over the four days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2016, which was a 15% increase from 2015. Black Friday is predicted to be even bigger this year, in terms of record-breaking expenditure. Therefore it is really important to plan ahead from an operational perspective, to make sure you can cope with the additional demand. One of the biggest considerations is making sure that your business has the latest payment technology and the ability to accept card payments. When paying for goods, consumers expect payment flexibility; therefore you need to make the checkout process as efficient and responsive as possible, whether that process takes place at the till point, on mobile or online. Other considerations around a seamless checkout experience includes; making sure all payment software is updated to guarantee maximum performance, and taking the time to train staff to understand transaction data and reporting to maximise opportunities and upsells.

Map Out Your Strategy
Black Friday deals can still be found on the high street, but increasingly the best deals and most shoppers are online. Therefore start your preparations early, create a demand prior to the event. Excite your customers by giving them a sneak preview. If you have a website, create a countdown to Friday 24th November, a dedicated online page, and web banner. These features will ensure that your offering is easily accessible and doesn't get diluted with the rest of your website. Send an email to your customer database with personalised offers based on previous purchases. Social Media is also a huge promotional opportunity to generate sales and create a buzz approaching Black Friday. If you are new to social media take the plunge and set up a social account, start a hash tag and send some tweets. These are simple, yet highly effective steps - you never know your offering could go viral.

Ace Customer Service
After spending all this time planning, make sure that your efforts do not go to waste by not having the right resources in place on the BIG day. Customer service is key and just as important as your promotional offering. Factors such as long queues or delays in sending the products can hugely impact success. Make sure that you can keep up with customer demand during peak periods, by taking simple steps such as increasing staff and budgeting for increased stock levels. After the event maintain regular communications by rewarding loyal customers and incentivising new customers. Remember happy customers, produces repeat customers!

Produce A Post-Black Friday Back Up Plan
It doesn't matter how much planning you have done, something always arises that you haven't accounted for. Whether you have overestimated demand or encountered technological issues, such as your website crashing from increased traffic. This is where a contingency plan can come in useful. Factors to consider may include extending your offering to benefit from (dare we say it in October) the Christmas trade or taking your business online. E-commerce can lead to dramatic growth of sales and if it isn't part of your 2017 Black Friday strategy, it may be something to consider in 2018.