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How to adapt for Black Friday 2021

Discover how businesses can adapt to the current climate for black Friday this year


When you think of Black Friday, it usually conjures up images of people crowding into shops to secure the best bargains. But the pandemic has drastically changed this. Many retailers are limiting customer admittance to shops and people are generally being more wary about returning to stores.

Naturally, this has caused some businesses to worry about whether Black Friday will be worth the effort this year.

Rest assured, Black Friday is still going ahead. After all, it’s a prime chance to increase sales. But to make it a safe shopping experience, many retailers are increasingly focusing on a more blended offering. For example, they’re making it possible for shoppers to browse and buy online, and using technology that can help reduce in-store crowds.

Businesses are also moving away from Black Friday as a one-day event. In fact, many have started holiday deals as early as October and plan to extend their offers throughout the run up to Christmas.

So, as businesses around the world hope to benefit from one of the busiest retailing periods of the year, we take a look at a few tactics and tools you can use to make sure you’re taking full advantage of Black Friday 2021:

Enable ‘click and collect’

It’s important to make sure your customer experience is safe and pleasant. One quick win can be through increasing your click and collect capabilities. This service gives your customers the ability to browse, research and purchase products in the comfort of their own home, whilst providing the convenience of collecting their goods in a bricks and mortar retailer. All without depending on an already strained postal network for their deliveries. 

Consider virtual queuing

You can create a safe, engaging and efficient shop floor experience by using queue management software. Virtual queuing software allows customers to join queues remotely through their smartphone. They are then updated about their position in the line and receive real-time notifications throughout the journey. Such systems can make sure you’re prioritising customer safety and building confidence to visit stores.

Experiment with technologies

The pandemic has accelerated many retailers’ digital offering. It’s shown that dramatic change is possible when necessary. But it’s not enough just to be reactive. Businesses should use this as a time to test out different technologies and see where their ‘new normal’ can take them. Here are just a few considerations:

  • QR codes: With an increasing acceptance of contactless payments, quick response (QR) codes are seeing an uptick in use among retailers. Unlike other wallet technology, QR allows customers to view and use a unique virtual code without downloading an app. While the technology has been around since the early 90s, QR codes’ simple technology means that it’s much easier to implement than card payment networks.

  • Contactless payments: Introduced in 2007, contactless payments have become incredibly popular across the retail world, so much so that one in three card payments are contactless. From a business perspective, the use of contactless reduces the time spent by customers during the payment process, which in turn cuts queue times and enables a steady flow of consumers through your stores. What’s more, with a manageable flow of customers, social distancing measures are easier to maintain with there being a lower chance of overcrowding in stores due to reduced queue time.

  • Self-Checkouts: While commonly found in supermarkets, many retailers have started to look to self-checkout services to boost the customer experience, speed up service at the Point of Sale (PoS) and reduce face to face contact. They are able to significantly shorten the waiting times around checkout, and work seamlessly alongside services such as ‘scan and shop’ and contactless payments. In combination with these services, self-checkout systems can enable you to manage consumers in store efficiently and, at the same time, reduce touchpoints between customers and staff.

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