By Nelson Haung, Zinier
Thanksgiving Day, 2008. Hundreds of people began lining up outside a Walmart in Long Island, New York.
By Friday morning, the crowd had swelled to more than 2,000 people.
When the doors finally opened, a stampede ensued. Even after police officers tried to close the store, customers shouted angrily and continued shopping.
So why the frenzy? Sales, of course. But also the thrill (or mania) of jostling with fellow shoppers in pursuit of the best deals.
Black Friday may be a bargain hunter’s dream, but it is also a logistical nightmare. Retailers have to contend with irate shoppers, complex logistics, and large teams of contract workers. The strategies they employ to keep shelves stocked and customers happy can easily be applied to other industries.
Take the telecom industry, where field service organizations are being asked to deploy thousands of small cell towers for 5G while still maintaining legacy networks. Or the oil and gas industry, where the emergence of smart meters is creating an influx of new data streams to manage.
Let’s look at how retailers approach three key challenges of Black Friday – training seasonal employees, using data to drive better decisions, and meeting rising customer expectations. Then, we’ll look at how field service organizations are applying these strategies to their own operations.