Black Friday is a great opportunity for beverage alcohol retailers to not only increase sales, but also gain long-lasting customers. The keys to success are proper preparation, thoughtful offerings and the right technology to guide decision-making.
Check out our tips for independent owners below, and scroll to the end for a special Black Friday retailer case study!
1. Skip the Morning Rush and Stay Open Later Instead
There’s no use competing with the 7am big-box mania. Instead, give yourself the morning to clean, decorate and prepare your store — you’re guaranteed to see more foot traffic and it’s important to make a good impression.
Focus on your seasonal product displays and the areas of the store that get a lot of traffic. Show off your best selling products, especially those that spike during the holidays, and make sure you’ve looked at the data so that they’re stocked next to adjacent products. That way, you’re highlighting items you want to upsell or cross-sell.
Don’t close early; rather, consider staying open as late as you can. You sell alcohol, after all, and many customers might require restocking as the festivities roll. If you can help your customers keep the holiday party going, and over-deliver on your in-store experience day-of, they will not only be mightily impressed but also grateful that you helped them return home bearing more beer, wine and spirits for weekend football.
2. Leverage your Loyalty Program in 2 Ways
We recently released a short guide on Loyalty Program Best Practices for liquor store owners. Check it out here if you haven’t seen it already.
Your loyalty program is a huge asset during the holidays, especially day-of during high traffic events like Black Friday. Not only can use this tool to offer special deals to your regular shoppers, incentivizing greater traffic and spend, you can also use it as a net to catch new members. In short, leverage your loyalty program in two ways:
1) Offer special, relevant deals to your currents members, and use consumer analytics to help guide you:
- For example, segment your sparkling wine shoppers, and send them a product alert/promotion for a new, special bottle that you’ve stocked specially for the holidays.
- Go even further by promoting an exclusive lineup of limited-time Black Friday products that pair perfectly with seasonal food items, but only to your loyalty members. The exclusivity of this offering, plus the limited-time nature of the offer, will ensure that people show up & that bottles fly off the shelf.
- Finally, if you’ve made your program mobile first (which you should!), make sure to send text message promotions the week and the day before Black Friday so that your deals are top of mind on the big day.
2) Offer discounts to people who sign up for your program on Black Friday:
- This is that “net” we mentioned earlier. Capitalize on the discount frenzy of Black Friday by offering to knock another 5-10% off customers’ totals if they sign up for your loyalty program on the spot.
- For added oomph, and to avoid gridlock at the register, place 1-2 employees at the entrance to your store with an iPad or even a pen & paper to capture shopper credentials as soon as they walk through the door. In one day, your loyalty base could spike significantly.
3. Make Black Friday an In-Store Party
Remember our Experiential Marketing post from a few weeks ago, where we discussed going “beyond tastings”? Well, Black Friday is the perfect opportunity to do just that.
For example, consider bringing in a winemaker, distiller, or brewer for next-level engagement and explanations. Offer cheese and other seasonal food pairings for shoppers to enjoy and get inspired. Or, feature specially-selected products to drive home the “experience” — you want customers to feel as if they’ve arrived at your store on a truly unique occasion.
You could even consider hosting events throughout the week of thanksgiving to build up to Black Friday and make the whole week a special occasion.
4. Reward your Social Media Fans
A good way to aggregate all of this information — all of your special deals & discounts, limited-time product offerings, day-of loyalty program perks, in-store events, etc. –is a Black Friday Facebook Event for your store.
Not only will this create a one-stop-shop for people to learn about your offers, it will open up yet another communication channel.
For example, you can stir excitement by posting daily promotions or gifts for in-store purchases during the week leading up to Black Friday. Or maybe you use your Facebook event page as a threshold for customers to sign up for exclusive deals or tastings.
These strategies are a way of “gamifying” Black Friday. In other words, customers get sucked into the game-like nature of your event page, increasing both engagement and the likelihood that they’ll show up to “collect” the rewards that they earned online.
5. Aim for Bigger Baskets
Customers are already inclined to make larger-than-average purchases on Black Friday to capitalize on your deals and fuel their weekend festivities. But you can amplify this tendency by offering higher discounts for higher total spends.
For example, maybe you offer 5% off purchases of $50, 10% off purchases of $100, 20% off purchases of $200, etc. As we mentioned earlier, the goal is to tap into the discount frenzy of Black Friday and encourage your customers to knock out all of their holiday shopping at your store in one fell swoop.
Don’t shy away from advertising this “discount ladder” on your Facebook page, or in your email and SMS marketing. If shoppers are aware of the bulk deals at your store, they very well might plan their entire holiday purchase plan around your offer. Meaning, they’ll walk in with the intention to spend large.
6. Build a Bridge to End-of-the-Year Holidays
Finally, you want to ensure that any new customers you gain during Black Friday — especially those that sign up for your loyalty program — continue to return to your store.
One simple retention strategy is offering end-of-the-year holiday discounts to your loyalty customers. In other words, after Black Friday ends, send out a thank you note containing an offer that can only be redeemed around New Years.
Or, use New Years as another opportunity to “gamify” your store by offering points for each store visit between Black Friday and January 1st. Then, on New Years, customers can “cash in” on their previous visits.
These engaging strategies keep your business front-of-mind and transform holiday hype into reliable foot-traffic.
Black Friday Case Study: Spec’s Wines, Spirits and Fine Foods
To wrap up, we want to spotlight one retailer that really goes above and beyond during Black Friday.
Spec’s Wines, Spirits and Fine Foods is an independent chain in Texas. Every Black Friday, their flagship store on Smith Street in Houston turns into a beer aficionado’s dream.
With the help of their craft and high-end import buyer, Spec’s sources an astounding lineup of popular, rare, and specialty brews — the likes of which attracts a line of over 200 customers (some of whom camp out the night before) not to mention basket rings worth hundreds of dollars. One shopper even walked away with $700 of beer — “holiday gifts for friends and family”.
Spec’s has successfully transformed a day of discounts into a specialty event of massive proportion by leveraging exclusivity, rarity, curation, and expert product selection. It’s nearly a Houston holiday unto itself.
Now, we recognize that an event or an inventory of this magnitude is not be achievable for many independent owners, but what you can do is adopt the Spec’s mindset. What will excite Black Friday shoppers? How can you create cache for your store’s event? How can you improve your inventory for the big day, and make sure it’s tailored to your customers? These are questions that retailers of any size can and should explore.
We hope this article is helpful as your prepare for Black Friday. As always, the right technology is key to elevating your decisions and your preparations — the kind of insights provided by 3×3 DataBar can be instrumental in your selection of the right products and the right promotions for the big day. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out. Good luck and stay tuned for more holiday content!