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How retailers can prepare for Black Friday

Black Friday is a global phenomenon which grows in both revenue and duration every year. Originally an American event taking place the day after Thanksgiving, it has now cemented its place in the UK retail calendar as the biggest shopping day of the year, far surpassing Boxing Day sales [1], [2]. Many shoppers will be looking to grab bargains on their Christmas shopping by this time of year, making Black Friday the ideal event for boosting seasonal sales.

With total Black Friday spending equalling 8.6 billion pounds in 2019, it's never too early for retailers to start preparing [3]. Investing in some Black Friday sale signage and Black Friday banners is the first step to getting your point of sale ready for your winter promotions.

How can shops prepare for Black Friday?

Here are four ways that retailers can prepare their store so that it's ready for the Black Friday rush.

1. Start preparing promotional materials early

As shops prepare for Black Friday, you will need to create signs and marketing to build suspense around upcoming price drops. Use social media, emails, Black Friday sale signage and in-store leaflets to give customers a sneak peek at what you will be offering this November.

Electronics are typically the best sellers on Black Friday. Learn from previous years and stock up on the most popular items, display them near the front and keep your price competitive.

Dont forget to use plenty of signage in your store windows specifically, in order to alert people to your discounts and draw in more footfall. Window posters, cable displays and banners are an ideal way to do this.


2. Optimise your store layout

Your store needs to be ready for increased crowds and optimised to make shopping easy. People generally don't go to stores on Black Friday for a leisurely shop. They know what they want and want to get it quickly and leave. Many of your shoppers will have already researched your sale online. Use overhead sign hangers to reduce confusion so that customers can quickly navigate to the area they need without becoming frustrated and put off by crowding.

Also, all of your primary sale offers should be at the front of your store on your main promotional aisle, with prominent Black Friday signs. This way, Black Friday shoppers can come in and find what they want with the least possible disruption to the rest of your store.

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3. Avoid queuing and wayfinding disruption

Some retailers operate a one-in-one-out system. People can begin to queue and then, once the sale officially opens, only 10 or so people are allowed in the store at once. This is a great way to operate a fair first-come-first-served system to avoid trouble.

Make sure your products are clearly labelled with shelf talkers, posters or showcard frames and not all crammed into one location. For example, spread your TVs around to avoid crowds gathering in one place.

Aisle signs are perfect for drawing attention to specific areas of your shelving and to any offers you want to promote, while queue barriers can be used to control crowding in certain areas.


4. Prepare your staff

Making sure your staff are fully prepared for your Black Friday event is another way to help avoid disruption. Firstly, you should have more staff in than a normal Friday, and they should know your sale inside and out.

Let them know as far in advance as possible what your Black Friday deals are, how much items are discounted by, if there is more stock available and whether there is a limit to the number of items that each person can buy.

It's easy to forget about the display fixing accessories you may need to hang your signage and other display products, such as suction cups or adhesive tapes, until it's too late. Make sure your staff have enough stock of these to carry them through the busy period.

For further information about merchandising your Black Friday Sales, you can view our article on how to hold Black Friday events safely.

Kira Swales

Kira Swales is a copywriter for UK POS. With over six years’ experience in e-commerce and copywriting, and many years in the retail sector, Kira loves to take a deep dive into topics in order to provide readers with the latest research in point of sale and merchandising. Read more of her in-depth guides on POS in our Knowledge Hub.


1. Stephanie Chevalier, 'Consumer participation in shopping events in the UK 2019, by event', Statista, Jul 7, 2021, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1063302/shopping-events-participation-in-the-uk-by-event/ [accessed July 2021].

2. Georgia-Rose Johnson, 'Black Friday and Cyber Monday statistics | 2020', Finder, https://www.finder.com/uk/boxing-day-statistics [accessed July 2021].

3. Tugba Sabanoglu, 'Black Friday in the United Kingdom (UK) - Statistics and Facts', Statista, https://www.statista.com/topics/5849/black-friday-in-the-uk/ [accessed July 2021].