As the nation gears up for the retail bonanza that is Black Friday, 2018 is tipped to be a bumper year and retailers with both a physical and online presence look set to be the biggest beneficiaries.
According to a new survey from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), this year consumers plan to spend an average of $5,54.90 across the Thanksgiving Weekend, with 46 per cent of shoppers looking to fork out more than they did last year.
So, as retailers ready for the season of shopping, here’s what you need to know…
A big year for retail
As consumer confidence increases, so too will the urge to spend, the ICSC predicts. They note consumer confidence is now at its highest in two decades and as a result, shoppers will be keen to open their wallets and spend extra this year.
In total consumers plan to spend an average of $554.90 across the Thanksgiving Weekend, with almost a third of that ($207.30) dedicated to Christmas gifts.
Meanwhile, The Balance explains November 23 will kick off what is traditionally the busiest period of the retail calendar with 30 per cent of all retail sales occurring between Black Friday and Christmas.
The entire period is set to see $715 billion injected into the economy – three per cent more than in 2017.
Digital or physical?
Recent years have been dominated by discussion that online was killing physical retail as consumers sought to source the best Black Friday bargains online.
Last year, Retail Dive noted walk-in traffic was down one per cent on the year prior. But according to the ICSC, it is omnichannel retailers that stand to do best.
They note 93 per cent of consumers are planning to spend with retailers that have both a physical and a digital presence.
The trend will be driven by the “buy online, pick-up in-store” push, and that subsequent store visit will likely result in welcome additional spending.
The ICSC states 77 per cent of consumers indicate they are likely to spend additional money at that store or adjacent retailers.
“It’s clear that having a strong physical and digital presence continues to drive sales – and Black Friday is no exception,” said Tom McGee, President and CEO of the International Council of Shopping Centers. “This year’s survey results once again show that consumers want options and will shop both in-store and online throughout the holiday season.”
Meanwhile, 71 per cent of shoppers are actively planning to visit bricks and mortar stores, with the Millennial generation leading the charge. Eighty-three per cent of Millennial shoppers indicated they would be spending at shopping centres or malls.
Biggest shoplifting day of the year
With more foot traffic in retail outlets than any other day of the year, retail theft also experiences a rise.
In fact, Fortune notes Black Friday is the single day when most thefts occur in general, with statistics rising by up to 28 per cent.
In retail, the rise is fuelled by a combination of packed stores, laden shelves, busy sales associates, and ample opportunity which leads to spike in shoplifting and fraud-related crimes.
So how do you protect your store?
Used by 73 per cent of retailers, according to the latest Global Retail Theft Barometer, electronic article surveillance remains one of the most popular and effective loss prevention strategies.
Using antenna and security tags, it allows sales associates to be automatically notified by alarm that a product or merchandise is leaving the store.
But its effectiveness is only as good as its implementation.
In advance of the busiest period of the retail year, store management should ensure:
- The right type of tag or label is fitted to the right type of merchandise (clothing tags for apparel, lanyards and tags for fashion accessories like shoes and handbags, optical tags for eye wear etc)
- Tags are of a sufficient locking strength, with Superlock magnetic strength considered the minimum standard.
Meanwhile, further loss prevention strategies include:
- Good staff screening – Ensure all staff, including Black Friday casuals, have been reference-checked thoroughly.
- Staff training – All staff should be trained on proper store procedures that include meeting and greeting customers, and watching for key signs of suspicious behavior.
- Secure store layout – Ensure high-value items are kept within easy monitoring of staff, and there is a clear line of sight to all areas of the floor.
- Secure cupboards – Provide your staff with easy yet secure access to storage cupboards.
- Use your EAS – All items should be tagged with tags of sufficient magnetic strength, while smaller items need to be labelled. If you are finding tags removed, your EAS is telling you security needs to be improved.
- Use your RFID – RFID gives you an insight into stock levels, loss, where an item is in the chain of supply, and inventory holdings. Use it to ensure you have adequate items on hand while balancing the issue of too much stock that leads to loss through markdowns.
- Employ surveillance – Visible surveillance like CCTV cameras acts as a direct deterrent against theft.
If all predictions are correct, this year’s Black Friday sales promise to be a boon for the retail industry. The art of maximizing the surge in sales comes down to ensuring the stock that stands to lure interest is also protected against opportunistic thieves.