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Eight Tips for a Safe and Profitable Black Friday Retail Checkout Line

by Perry Kuklin  |  
November 15, 2012

The unofficial start to the holiday shopping season—Black Friday weekend—is right around the corner. Retailers are planning now to deal with the oncoming consumer-oriented buying frenzy, by working on the details of staffing, stocking, security, crowd management, and safety.

The considerations are far-reaching and include managing the predictably long and winding checkout line. Here are eight tips for retailers on preparing a checkout line for the crowds and the excitement of an event filled with great opportunity—and great risk.

1. Put safety first

Plan checkout-line logistics in advance, and set up before the shoppers descend. Invest in magnetic or permanent, drilled-in stanchions to accommodate pushing crowds, establish clear boundaries, and improve customer flow. Test reinforced barriers to ensure that they won't be easily toppled by the unintended bumps of the crowd.

2. Expand the checkout line area

Black Friday means longer checkout lines, so retailers would be wise to set a predetermined path for those lines.

Left to their own devices, customers will overflow into valuable retail floor space in a way only they can imagine: lining up right in front of the most valuable retail display, extending the line through the dressing room area... anything is possible!

And since there is likely no other option than to extend the checkout line beyond its typical comfort zone, the best a retailer can do is to strategically plan for where and how those long lines will weave and flow through the store.

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Perry Kuklin is the director of marketing and business development for Lavi Industries, a provider of public guidance and crowd control solutions. For more about retail queue management, see Lavi's e-book, Black Friday Crowd Management for Retailers.

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