Black Friday is upon us, and soon your stores will be flooded with shoppers ready to scoop up your best deals. Long lines are the norm for this major shopping day – but you can keep your lines moving faster by making sure you have the right amount of cash to serve your customers quickly and efficiently.
Black Friday 2016 is on track to be the biggest ever, according to Forbes. Sales are expected to exceed $3 billion, an 11.5 percent increase over last year, and 25 percent of the top products sold this holiday season will be during Black Friday weekend.
The National Retail Federation tells us a similar story: 74 percent of Thanksgiving holiday shoppers will be out hunting for deals on Black Friday, while 21 percent plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day.
As crazy as Black Friday can get, providing a great customer experience can't fall by the wayside. Keeping your lines moving smoothly is one of the best ways to ensure a positive customer experience. How can you ensure efficient customer throughput when your stores are jam-packed? You likely have planned for things like satellite registers, more extensive queuing and extra staff at the front end to direct customers through the checkout process. But if you haven't already, you should also consider your cash needs.
The Federal Reserve reports that consumers demand more cash during the holidays. Of course, that cash will be making its way through your stores. Many retailers direct stores to order extra cash to hold in anticipation of customer needs. But how do you determine the correct amount and which denominations to order?
Cash analytics by denomination is key to your business on Black Friday — or any day of the year. To keep costs down, you need a method that helps you understand the denominations flowing into and out of your store each day and that takes into account seasonal factors like the day of the week, holidays and local events.
Once you have a handle on cash sales and demand, you can help you refine your starting amounts, deposits and change orders, ultimately keeping idle cash out of your stores, protecting your cash assets and increasing working capital all year round.
To get started, take a look at these details from your last few Thanksgiving shopping weekends:
Cash sales. Examine the cash volume your stores brought in and whether the cash policies you had in place served your stores well without over-ordering.
Potential cross-shipping. Loose corporate policies on depositing and ordering funds can often lead to cross-shipping denominations, which racks up bank and transportation fees.
Number, amount and denominational breakdown of loans to registers. If your stores are making more than one loan to each register per day, your starting amounts might need to be adjusted, for Black Friday or in general.
Cash back. If your stores offer cash back during the checkout process, study the amounts and denominations customers request and their effect on the number of loans to registers. Offering this service could be draining your cash reserves more than you think. Also consider whether your cash back policies should be adjusted for Black Friday to maintain appropriate store cash on hand.
Keeping customers waiting for correct change or for a manager to make a loan to a register can create stress for both customers and employees on your busiest day of the year. To avoid delays, take a look at your policies and procedures to weed out cash handling inefficiencies and make sure you have the proper tools in place to understand your cash by denomination.
Every retailer wants to make sure their Black Friday runs as smoothly as possible. Preparing for your cash needs is one more step you can take to keep your customers happy.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been updated.