An American tradition, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving when many businesses run special offers and impressive sales.
Over recent years the concept has evolved and, with the arrival of online retail, more companies than ever before are offering discounts on their products, with everyone from small, independent businesses through to large, global brands taking part.
Once a one-day event, many of these sales now last around a week, incorporating Cyber Monday – where online discounts peak. In essence, these offers are a simply way for retailers to sell as much product as possible and generate significant revenue before the year ends.
But how does Black Friday impact a fulfilment support partner, like SYKES?
In any situation that sees an uplift in order volume, planning and preparation is key. For Black Friday, the planning process typically starts towards the end summer.
At that stage, it’s about confirming key information. For example, is the client taking part in Black Friday? When will their promotions start? Will they be putting certain products up for discount or will they be applying a discount to all products to attract customers?
For fulfilment clients, it’s important to establish what their Black Friday plans are, and what volumes they anticipate being sent out. This can then be taken into account in the planning, ensuring all discounted products are available in the warehouse, ready for shipping.
For kitting and assembly clients, careful planning ensures that all the needed components are in stock. Products can also be built and finished in preparation for the week.
As well as working with clients, a fulfilment support partner also works with other partners, including postal carriers and parcel couriers, to ensure understanding of their Black Friday schedule and capcities. Early planning with them avoids any delays or errors caused by the extra volume. Additional guarantees should be sought as early as possible to assure clients that their service levels will be met within the busy period.
When it comes to the week itself, staffing must be planned to ensure that resources can be scaled to meet demand. This could mean extending working hours, with team members starting shifts earlier or finishing later.
Multi-skilled staff are invaluable at this point, as they are well-equipped to cope with increased volumes, creating the physical capacity to achieve the necessary targets.
Black Friday is a great opportunity for companies to boost sales and increase profits. However, planning, preparation, and the help of a highly experienced, multi-skilled team is crucial for a successful outcome.