By Steve Davidson

Black Friday is right around the corner. If you haven’t started planning, you may want to do yourself a favor and change that. Many retailers are already putting items on sale to gear up for a big day—one that’s no longer just about overnight curbside campers. With online sales up 18 percent in 2017 and projected for a four-plus percent bump this year, retailers now need to bolster two fronts.

So, how should retailers prepare to enjoy a successful Black Friday both in-store and online? Let’s take a look.

All hands on deck

A 24-hour spree without the manpower to handle it? Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Seasonal workers are a cost-effective way to boost efficiency and ensure operations run smoothly. Many major retailers make seasonal workers part of their annual holiday strategy – in fact, nearly 600,000 seasonal positions have already been announced this year.

Whether you’re a retailer that needs 10 extra workers or 10,000, having the additional help on hand can be incredibly beneficial when shoppers flood the floor. Just make sure your team understands your sales script, how to promote special offers, and how to field anticipated customer questions.

Deftly digital

Last year, $2 billion worth of Black Friday sales took place online. With online shopping on the increase, it’s important for retailers to understand how to cater to both webrooming and showrooming customers. For starters, you can utilize marketing channels like email and social media platforms to establish an online strategy. Not buying it? Well, 63 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to purchase from a brand that has an established social media presence. If you’re still looking to entice customers to visit the store, consider sending email coupons that are good only for an in-store Black Friday purchase.

Getting show ready

It’s gameday. Have you put the finishing touches on your plan? One final step to prepare for Black Friday includes structuring your physical store for the occasion, like preparing festive signage that directs customers. Though online purchases are on the uptick, some consumers—many of them webroomers—are using it mostly for research. Currently, nearly 50 percent of shoppers say they’ll go to a specific store to take home a purchase immediately rather than wait for a shipment. By creating your holiday layout with this in mind, you can ensure these customers are in, out, and happy in no time.

Like many retailers employing these simple strategies, you too can enjoy a successful Black Friday. But hurry – it’ll be here before you know it!

Steve Davidson is Vice President of Fortegra’s Warranty Product Group where he spearheads business development and client support for the company’s consumer and commercial product service contracts, helping deliver customized risk management, regulatory compliance, and administrative solutions.

Stock photos: Holiday by MIKHAIL GRACHIKOV/Shutterstock