Oct 13, 2021

How to Prepare Your Workforce for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) 2021

Black Friday-Cyber Monday (BFCM) is, without a doubt, the biggest retail event of the year. In 2020, consumers spent $9 billion on Black Friday (a 21.6% increase from the previous year), and Cyber Monday was named the biggest U.S. ecommerce day ever, with record sales of $10.84 billion.

We can expect to see similar trends this year as the economy continues to rebound. The NRF is forecasting retail sales to exceed $4.44 trillion in 2021 — and a good chunk of that spending will take place during BFCM.

“We are seeing clear signs of a strong and resilient economy,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz in an official statement. “Incoming data suggests that U.S. economic activity continues to expand rapidly, and we have seen impressive growth. Most indicators point toward an energetic expansion over the upcoming months and through the remainder of the year.”

All this to say that Black Friday-Cyber Monday 2021 will likely be more significant than ever, so you and your staff must be prepared, particularly those at the front line.

To that end, we’ve put together recommendations to help your workforce gear up for BFCM.

Let’s get started.

Organize your BFCM communications

One of the best things you can do to prepare your team members is to give them the ability to communicate with each other before and during BFCM easily. Streamline your internal comms by centralizing how information is disseminated across your entire organization.

You can do this by adopting a real-time communications platform that keeps messages and files in one place. In doing so, workers only need to use one tool to communicate, and there’s no need to juggle multiple channels (e.g., email, SMS, WhatsApp, etc.)

As for best practices, it’s helpful to create channels or chatrooms dedicated to all things Black Friday-Cyber Monday. This keeps all relevant messages in one location, so it’s simple for teams to find the information they need.

Upskill your teams

Because of the rapid growth of online shopping, the role of brick-and-mortar stores has shifted. Rather than simply being places where people can buy products, many physical stores function as fulfillment and order pickup centers.

This BFCM, your physical location, will be working overtime — both in terms of in-store sales and fulfillment.

As such, you need to give your frontline workers the knowledge and skills they need to serve shoppers. This could mean offering training programs on topics like pick-and-pack, BOPIS, curbside pickup, and more.

Make it easy for your employees to complete these programs by making them available on-demand and allowing people to view courses on their mobile devices.

Related: WorkJam’s Employee Learning Module lets you upload training materials in different formats then target them to specific audiences within your organization. Easily track progress and award employees with badges based on assessment quizzes.

Manage shifts wisely

BFCM usually creates an “all hands on deck” situation for retailers, so see to it that all your stores are staffed with enough employees.

During such a busy season, having a streamlined shift management process is critical. If your managers are still coordinating shifts manually, it’s high time to automate your procedures.

Our advice? Use a shift management system that enables employees to pick up and swap shifts themselves. Just make sure you configure the solution, so it doesn’t allow workers to take shifts they aren’t qualified or eligible for.

With the proper shift management setup, store managers can spend less time playing phone tag with employees. Instead, they can focus on higher-level tasks — like ensuring that your BFCM program goes on without a hitch.

Related: Have a look at WorkJam’s Open Shift Marketplace (OSM), a module that lets you crowdsource your internal staffing needs. Use OSM to broadcast shifts to your workforce, and the system automatically ensures that shifts are only seen by those who are qualified and available to work. OSM also has self-service features, so employees can pick up and trade shifts without manual involvement from managers.

Give team members the right tools and resources

Successful BFCM programs require a lot of hands-on work. Products need to be merchandised correctly. Signage must be adequately displayed in the store. Some questions need to be answered, and policies must be enforced.

Suffice it to say, there’s a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done. Make it easier for your frontline teams to execute by putting the necessary resources at their fingertips.

Your employees should be able to access things like checklists, photos, and instructions right from their mobile devices. That way, they can reference the info they need even when they’re on the sales floor. In doing so, team members ultimately improve their productivity to get more things done in less time.

Bringing it all together

BFCM, success isn’t just about clever marketing and attractive promotions; the performance of your initiatives largely depends on how well your staff executes your programs. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure that your teams are prepared for the BFCM rush. Hopefully, the recommendations above bring you closer to doing just that.

And if you need tools to empower your staff, WorkJam offers a range of features that enable your frontline teams to do their best work. Find out why companies like Target, Kroger, and Ulta choose WorkJam as their digital workplace.

About the author:

Steven Kramer

Chief Executive Officer

Steven is a technology entrepreneur with over 20 years of executive leadership experience in founding and scaling companies developing disruptive, enterprise-class technologies. In 1999, Steven co-founded iCongo, a leading global software provider for omni-channel retail and B2B commerce solutions, which merged with hybris Software in 2011 and became the largest independent provider of e-commerce solutions with 27 offices worldwide, 1000+ employees and more than 600 customers. Steven was part of the Executive Management team and Board Member at hybris. hybris Software was purchased by SAP in 2013. While working with companies on their omni-channel strategies, Steven identified a gap between traditional workforce management systems and how companies actually hire, schedule and manage their frontline employees. With this in mind, Steven co-founded WorkJam.

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