With many retailers starting promotions weeks before the actual day, time is running out to get ready for Black Friday, taking place on 24 November this year. This annual fixture on the retail calendar marks the start of the festive season and is an opportunity for retailers to take advantage of a shopping bonanza. Yet, at a time of constant load shedding and slow economic growth, only the best-prepared will get the full benefit.
While your sales, marketing, ecommerce, and merchandising teams have already started preparing, it’s also essential to ensure that your ICT infrastructure and back-office operations are ready for the rush. Pricing is important, but it’s not enough to be competitive. A great customer experience really matters – this will depend if the business has the right systems and processes in place.
Here are a few points to consider:
- Be prepared for power outages: Black Friday offers your business a narrow window to increase revenues. Don’t miss out because load shedding puts your point-of-sale systems and other infrastructure out of commission. Hybrid solar solutions with back-up batteries are increasingly affordable and can enable you to trade throughout power outages, so you don’t lose a sale.
- Strengthen your protections against crime: Criminals from shoplifters to armed robbers often take advantage of the chaos during busy trading times to steal from your business. Affordable digital (IP) CCTV can help you to identify, prevent criminal activity in your store. Once you’ve invested in digital video, you can also start using video analytics for applications like detecting low stock, wrong placement, and wrong prices, or analysing shopper data to identify traffic patterns.
- Streamline management of cash: Increased trade during the Black Friday period and festive season means more cash to manage. Automating cash management with modern coin and note counting machines can enable you to vastly reduce the costs, time and risks usually involved in processing large volumes of cash.
- Ensure network uptime: Load shedding and cable theft are putting telecom networks under strain. Many companies are investing in fixed-wireless networks as a backup or alternative to fibre and mobile broadband to ensure continuous uptime. A resilient backup network can help you to keep running through one of the busiest days of the year, even if something happens to your primary connection.
By Chris Kruger, Managing Director at Nashua Kopano