Retailer! You just had your best/worst Black Friday weekend, now what?

So we were checking in with our small business friends yesterday seeing how Black Friday and Small Business Saturday went. We received this text back from one of them, “we 2x our Black Friday sales last year and 5x our SBS sales... also yesterday was not only our best day yet but it was more than double our best day.”

Holy shit.

I don’t care what business you are in, that sounds like a great weekend.

But now what? What do you do with the cash, the opportunity, the rest of the year?

Here are some of the best tactics we have deployed to maximize an amazing weekend.

  1. Call your tax person and make sure you have enough set aside for taxes or at least a plan. A good CPA should be able to give you a quick and clear answer.

  2. Be sure to make sure all of the charges actually go through. Log into your credit card payment gateway and double check for charges that were flagged or held.

  3. Calculate your COGS for the weekend and set aside that much money to replenish inventory. As an example, if you have a $100 retail product you marked down to $70 for the weekend but you paid $50 for it, you really don’t have $70 of free money. You have $50 to buy more inventory and $20 for everything else.

  4. If you have a large amount of money to spend for inventory, call your vendors and see if you can get better deals because you can make a larger purchase and because they may still be trying to make the end of year quotas. Learn to play, “Let’s make a deal.”

  5. Set aside bonus money for your team if you feel that is appropriate.

  6. Shoppers between Black Friday and Christmas aren’t typically planners. They want convenience and for you to bail them out of procrastinating. Think kits, package deals. Something where they can make one decision and solve several problems. They are less incentivized by discounts and more by quick and hassle-free. Don’t be scared to call them out. Run an ad or send an email saying, “If you haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet, no worries, we’ve got you covered.”

  7. Make the shopping experiences one-stop shops. Ask everyone what else they are looking for.

  8. Use social media to make daily recommendations of overlooked but amazing products and deals.

  9. Email everyone who purchased from you over the weekend and send them a code that gets them $X in store credit for Jan-Mar. We recommend half of your average cart value. Any amount will incentivize those much needed Q1 sales.

  10. Make a plan to dump any inventory that you definitely should NOT be carrying in the new year. Do whatever it takes to get rid of it. Even donate it. The longer you have it the less it is worth. A simple way to figure out what should go is to ask yourself this question, “If I started the business over again on 1/1 what inventory would I stock my shelves with?” Everything else should go. Even at a loss. At this point a loss is inevitable, use this strategy to minimize that loss.

What other strategies have you used or heard of to make the most of a great end of the year? Let us know!

So what if you just had your worst weekend? What if sales were down 2x from last year? What do you do now?

Here are some of the best tactics we have deployed to maximize a terrible weekend.

  1. Run some quick inventory levels and see if you are sitting on too much inventory for your end of the year. Your CPA should be able to help you with this. Typically you don't want to go into the new year heavy on inventory.

  2. Again know your COGS and make sure you have a plan to replenish the right inventory for the end of the year?

  3. Email every customer and thank them for stopping in and offer then an exclusive before the end of the year deal. Something that would get them to make one more purchase before the holidays. Maybe something for themselves.

  4. If anyone didn't stop in that you were certain was going to stop in and make a good purchase, call them. Maybe they were traveling. Ask them if you can open early or stay open late and let them have a private shopping experience.

  5. Run some numbers that are more valuable at measuring the weekend. Total Sales is just one number but it isn't super helpful. You could have liquidated your inventory and had high sales but lost money. Better ratios are the total number of visitors, dollars per visitor, dollars per transaction, units per transaction, new vs returning customers, the percentage of transactions that included an upsell, profit margin, total profit. 

    ...And maybe surprisingly, some of the same tactics from if you had a great weekend.

  6. Shoppers between Black Friday and Christmas aren’t typically planners. They want convenience and for you to bail them out of procrastinating. Think kits, package deals. Something where they can make one decision and solve several problems. They are less incentivized by discounts and more by quick and hassle-free. Don’t be scared to call them out. Run an ad or send an email saying, “If you haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet, no worries, we’ve got you covered.”

  7. Make the shopping experiences one-stop shops. Ask everyone what else they are looking for.

  8. Use social media to make daily recommendations of overlooked but amazing products and deals.

  9. Email everyone who purchased from you over the weekend and send them a code that gets them $X in store credit for Jan-Mar. We recommend half of your average cart value. Any amount will incentivize those much needed Q1 sales.

  10. Make a plan to dump any inventory that you definitely should NOT be carrying in the new year. Do whatever it takes to get rid of it. Even donate it. The longer you have it the less it is worth. A simple way to figure out what should go is to ask yourself this question, “If I started the business over again on 1/1 what inventory would I stock my shelves with?” Everything else should go. Even at a loss. At this point a loss is inevitable, use this strategy to minimize that loss.

Finally, what about you. What can you do for you after a hectic weekend?

  1. Be honest. Did you have high sales because you were a marketing ninja or did it just happen? Did it happen because of your team? Give credit where credit is due. Including yourself. Did you have low sales because you didn't put in the effort? Did you have a bad attitude? Do you love the game? Is your happiness tied to sales? Take 5 minutes to reflect on your leadership and the outcome you experienced. Any truths?

  2. Take a full 24 hours off this week to decompress. You have been making a huge effort leading up to this. Don't check your phone. Eat comfort food. Sleep. Take a bath. Go for a long walk. Pretend your doctor ordered it as a prescription.

  3. Make a commitment to finish strong. Many famous races have been won in the last mile. Finish strong for you. Give an effort you would be proud of. You aren't in charge of the market. Own your actions and level of commitment.

  4. Finally, realize that you aren't owed anything. Success is earned. Fought for. Just because you had good deals or a beautiful store doesn't mean the world owes you sales. There are only 2 things you are really in charge of in entrepreneurship, your attitude, and your actions. Keep those in check and you'll be fine.

If for some reason you need any help with any of the above points, feel free to contact us at Alluvio. We love the challenge of helping small businesses grow. Contact us here.

Click here to see my live video on the subject.