When you’re looking to set up your store for a Black Friday sales event, there are some key pieces of equipment and strategies to keep in mind. The goal is to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible, including staff. And the best way to do that is to make sure all customers are encouraged to follow best practices as they navigate the offerings.
For tips on managing crowds during sales events, here’s a good companion blog from the Safety Sticklers.
- 1 Retractable Belt Stanchions
- 2 Glass Partitions
- 3 Distribute the Hottest Items Away from Each Other
- 4 You Can’t Overdo It with Signage
- 5 Distribute Disposable Masks
- 6 Regularly Update and Remind with PA Announcements
- 7 Getting Ready for Black Friday? Partner with a Safety Stickler
Retractable Belt Stanchions
Setting up effective belt barriers will be different during COVID-19. Mainly, you’ll want to avoid people who aren’t from the same household waiting shoulder-to-shoulder.
In normal times, you can utilize three belts to create four barriers. But to help customers maintain at least six feet of space while indoors, you’ll want to make sure no one is sharing a belt barrier with someone in line behind them.
Basically, if two people are waiting in the same line but facing two separate directions, they shouldn’t be shoulder-to-shoulder.
One way to do this is by creating a snaking line that still utilizes more floor area. If possible, you can also move all the shelving and displays further away from the registers to provide customers more room.
And, of course, you’ll want to make sure every register is open, even if it feels unnecessary based on crowd size. The fewer people waiting in a queue, the better.
Here’s a complete guide on retractable belt barriers for further reading.
Use Literature Holders to Distribute Pamphlets
One of Sonco’s more popular stanchion accessories is the literature holder. The four-pocket is for tri-fold and the two-pocket for standard printer paper size. And while holders are most commonly used to distribute coupons and event flyers, they can be a great way for customers to receive important store information.
For example, a store map where they can quickly and easily find the precise products they’re looking for. That can go a long way toward minimizing the amount of time people spend looking for items.
Plus, if people are waiting outside until more people leave, faster turnover goes beyond health and safety. It can mean more revenue and fewer impatient clients.
Many retailers already utilize some form of glass partition. But if you’re not utilizing it in your store yet, a Black Friday event should be a great reason to make the investment.
It may seem like you won’t need a glass partition once COVID-19 is behind us, but when will that be exactly? Even as people begin to take vaccines, keeping a partition between employees and customers out of an abundance of caution is a smart idea.
Flare-ups across the country will more than likely continue for the foreseeable future, making a glass partition a business savvy long-term investment.
Distribute the Hottest Items Away from Each Other
The sale items that you anticipate being in the highest demand should not be in the same area. This all but guarantees overcrowding, so keeping them separating is going to greatly diminish a mad dash to specific sections.
You’ll need new signage then so people can easily find what they’re looking for. While many customers will utilize a store map, most will simply rely on the overhead signs to lead the way. This is well and good – as long as the signage is effective.
You may need to take down existing signs (like the “electronics” section) and replace them with more specific signage. You could even include the item name and the sale price on the sign to both increase safety while encouraging a purchase.
You Can’t Overdo It with Signage
While we’re on the topic, you can’t over-invest in signage. If you’re going to choose one form of health and safety equipment, go with signage.
As effective as retractable belt barriers and steel barricades can be, they’re only as good as the people meant to follow along. We’ve all seen Black Friday videos of customers getting injured or worse. With creatively motivating signage and a heightened sense of safety among most Americans, this is a great way to cover your bases.
Keep in mind that people are desensitized to seeing warning and caution signs. That’s why we emphasize creativity. You want your signs to be striking, unique, and motivational.
The better version of a floor sticker is a retractable belt barrier. But floor stickers can still be highly effective forms of social distancing equipment, and they’re extremely affordable.
What makes an effective floor sticker? Firstly, make sure it encourages social distancing on the sticker itself. We too often see stores using tape on the floor, which looks bad and doesn’t include any call to action.
Second, you want to make sure it’s durable. Today it might be warm and sunny, but the seasons are changing fast, and we’ve seen white Black Fridays every year across the US.
Lastly, the floor stickers should be all around the store, not just at the checkout counter. This is especially true for sales events when people are waiting to pick out their item. With floor stickers leading up to the hottest items, you’ll encourage customers to, at the very least, keep some form of social distance.
An A-Frame Sign is one of the most versatile forms of crowd management.
A-Frame Signs can be set up anywhere, both outside and in, and people tend to stop and take it in. People associate them with either important safety information (such as slippery floor warnings) or special deals, both of which are highly Black Friday friendly.
A good A-Frame Sign goes beyond a solid design. The key is strategic placement. Have your A-Frame sign at all entrances and high-traffic areas. Put one at the end of each stanchion queue area. They can even be used to display limits on high-demand products, such as toilet paper.
Feather Flags are a great way to get people where they need to go. You can have them lean around corners or fly above shelving, making them ideal for important directions.
The most obvious example of a Black Friday Feather Flag for COVID-19 safety is a bathroom indicator and hand sanitizer areas. But they can also direct people to specific items or sections much like a hanging sign.
And when the sale is over, Feather Flags can be broken down and stored away for a variety of future uses. From outdoor events to other indoor sales, you can utilize them long after COVID-19 is behind us.
We cover barricades and covers more extensively in our planning guidelines for sales events. But it’s worth reiterating, because barricade covers can serve an incredibly useful multipurpose function.
For one thing, covers are easier and faster to clean than the barricades. In that sense, they’re especially COVID-19 friendly and help keep your environment cleaner. A highly compromised one can easily be switched out with a clean one as well.
Another way these covers are useful is when you get a custom social distancing version. At Sonco, we also offer stock social distancing covers that showcase six feet of distance.
Whether outside or in, barricades are an important component of a Black Friday setup. And for this year, barricade covers are an especially crucial companion accessory.
Distribute Disposable Masks
For whatever reason, this is a rare sight. But why? When the outbreak first began, masks needed to be reserved for medical professionals. However, they’re now in massive supply, making them a highly affordable and easy way to help out unprepared customers. Rather than send them home, have a disposable mask ready for them.
Consider Doing Specials on Health and Safety Products
In the same vein, why not offer Black Friday specials on masks, shields, sanitizer, and other health and safety products? Maybe they even receive a bigger discount on more appealing products, like electronics, when they also purchase a reusable mask.
These are just ideas. But the more you can incorporate your commitment to best safety practices, the more likely your customers will be to follow along.
Regularly Update and Remind with PA Announcements
It may be useful to remind customers to keep six feet apart and regularly sanitize over the PA announcer every 15 or 20 minutes.
“Thank you for shopping with us at [STORE NAME]. Remember to keep six feet apart. Sanitizer stations are distributed throughout the store. Refer to overhead signs to find your products fast.”
Not only does it boost the chance people will participate, it also reduces the chances of customers calling out fellow customers. That can lead to unnecessary conflict, which has the opposite effect of keeping people safe.
Getting Ready for Black Friday? Partner with a Safety Stickler
At Sonco, we take tremendous pride in helping folks set up their venue in the safety way possible. Our experience team offers no-obligation advice. Reach out today for insights specific to your setting, goals, and budget.