In planning for the Black Friday onslaught, store management personnel must implement a strategic plan which, at its core, answers these questions:

  • How do you want customers to line up outside the store (prior to the store’s opening)?
  • In what order will customers enter the store?
  • How do you want customers to navigate to merchandise within the store?
  • How do you want customers to line up in order to check out?
  • How do you want customers to exit the store?

If you’re offering special deals or special products, anticipate that customers will arrive on the grounds around your store entrance well in advance of when you open the doors.  If you’re opening at 5 am, will some customers be there at 3 am, hoping to be the first to enter?  Based on your past experience, and the experiences of similar stores, establish an expected arrival time for your customers.  This – not when you open the doors – is when your crowd management effort will actually begin.

Do you want your customers to begin lining up in a single file line?  If so, set up crowd control barriers, or stanchions with belts to clearly establish the “borders” of the line.

Plan to have staff assigned to the outdoor waiting line area.  That means that certain staff members must arrive very early.  These staff members should remain in constant communication with the waiting customers – reiterating the details on how your entrance system will work, answering questions, and keeping an eye out for potential problems.

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Black Friday -Crowd Management Planning