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Four Proven Ways to Improve Your Retail Bottom Line on Black Friday

by Marguerite Darlington Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Unstoppable crowds. Unbeatable deals. Since the early 2000s, Black Friday has marked the beginning of the holiday shopping season and, in recent years, has been the biggest revenue-generating day for most retailers.

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In an effort to boost sales even higher, retailers are trying everything from offering deals during Thanksgiving dinner to cutting prices even deeper on key items to bring shoppers into their stores.

If you want to avoid slashing prices, here are some tried and tested methods for improving retail sales—both online and in-store—from the forward-thinking Wisconsin School of Business faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

1. Keep the store empty—It sounds counterintuitive, but the more shoppers that there are in a store, the less that they are willing to pay for the merchandise on display.

Thomas O’Guinn, professor of marketing, and Robin Tanner, associate professor of marketing, studied social density in retail and found that the more space that you give consumers, the more that they are willing to pay for a product. Learn why shoppers place a higher value on products displayed in sparsely-populated environments.

2. Reconsider retargeting—Recent research by Paul Hoban, assistant professor of marketing, shows that current best practices for online display advertising may not be that effective.

Many digital ads are measured on a “last click” or “last view” basis, which can result in wasting impressions on individuals that are unlikely to be influenced. Read why retargeting may not be the most effective method of driving conversions online.

3. Think before you touch—There’s lots of marketing research that suggests that physical touch is a powerful way to persuade customers to make a purchase or leave a larger tip at a restaurant. But what about people who don’t like to be touched—under any circumstances?

Joann Peck, associate professor of marketing, and Ph.D. candidate Andrea Webb created a questionnaire to assess people’s comfort with interpersonal touch, and their results might surprise you. Find out why interpersonal touch is not always an effective sales tool.

4. Fake it ‘til you make it—If you’re worried about closing a sale, approach the customer with confidence, and no matter what, you’ll have a higher chance of closing the deal.

Alex Stajkovic, associate professor of management and human resources, and his co-authors found that sales associates who were more confident sell more, earn higher commissions, and are generally more satisfied at work. Understand why confidence is a critical quality for business success.