Bet on Black Friday: Are you ready for the rush?

Sarah Hiraki

 · 11/25/2019  · 11/25/2019

For many of our retail, e-commerce and hospitality customers, November and December are the busiest months of the year. Consultancy IMRG suggests many expect to make around a quarter of their annual sales in these two months! Last year, UK consumers spent over £51 billion in December. This year, although expectations are muted, experts are still predicting £8.57 billion in spending in the next eight days, a 3.5% increase on last year.

The question is, are you ready?

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Be ready to ramp up

Step one is making sure you are ready to service more customers. Many businesses are planning extended hours and will make sure they are fully staffed for the period. Online businesses will have checked they have the bandwidth to support increased traffic. Afterall, you don’t want customers leaving because they could not complete a purchase.

To cope with an anticipated peak in customers consider the number of transactions you’ll need to process. All our plans offer a certain number of free transfers, and you can pick the level that best suits your average usage. But switching between levels to accommodate a spike in sales makes sense. For example, moving from ‘Grow’ to ‘Scale’ gives you 10-times as many free transfers each month. Upgrading also allows you to add extra team members to your account, useful if you are recruiting temporary staff to help manage the rush.

Best of all, you can simply move back to your old plan once the peak has passed, so you are not paying for things you don’t need for the rest of the year.

Don’t forget the ‘back office’

Making sure you have enough stock, or the right components to deliver your product is always critical, but especially when things are busy and when customers expect deliveries by December 24th. With everyone focused on delivering to customers, sometimes ‘back-office’ processes can be neglected, invoices pile up or get misplaced, sign-offs get bottlenecked. You’ll want to avoid issues with suppliers who may hold up deliveries if invoices are not paid on time.

Automated payments to regular, trusted suppliers can ensure that providers of essential goods and services are managed efficiently. You can also grant administrative access to more staff allowing them to process specific payments. The access can be limited so that they can only access certain areas and perform certain duties. You can share responsibility for keeping the business on track, whilst still retaining control.  

For online and ecommerce businesses, this time of year can also be a great time to look to extend your customer base overseas and to introduce new products to your existing clients. Either could necessitate cross-border transactions as your customer and supplier base expands. Make sure you are getting the best rates and as many fee-free exchanges as possible to maximise profits.

You need to focus on your customers to capitalise on sales. But don’t let accounting, tax and reporting tasks get overlooked. Use integrated tools to help automate, streamline processes and eliminate as much bureaucracy as you can so things don’t mount up in the background.

Use virtual cards to manage spending and take the stress and strain out of processing expenses. Integrate your accounts with cloud-based accounting services from Xero and Quickbooks to ensure all your extra revenue is recorded and coded correctly. VAT and tax returns can be pre-filled automatically saving you time and potential nasty surprises.

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Love your staff

Black Friday can mean long shifts, constant scrutiny of traffic and sales data, dynamic marketing and customer engagement. So, don’t forget your staff and show them some love. A steady supply of coffee and treats is practically essential, but also think about helping out with getting lunch delivered or an additional thank-you meal, pampering session or day off.

Black Friday kicks off the busiest time of year for many of our customers. Getting it right can set your business up for a great end to the year and lay the foundations for continued growth in 2020. But we know it’s hard work and there are many moving parts that need to be managed to deliver that success. We’re here to help—talk to us about how you can make your Revolut Business account work harder for you.