We’re almost halfway through October, which means time is running out for your company to prepare for Black Friday. This year, the shopaholics’ favorite holiday falls on Friday, November 29th. We’ve put together a list of questions you need to ask yourself before you can officially call yourself ready for the Black Friday frenzy.

According to CNN, in 2012, “total spending over Black Friday weekend hit a record $59.1 billion, up 13% from last year. The number of shoppers also hit a new record.” This data suggests that if you aren’t making at least half an attempt to participate, you are missing out bigtime. Some companies provide services or products that don’t fit easily into this marketing holiday, but if yours can, you should find a way to get in on the action.

So, here we go! Keep in mind, if any of the questions below make you stop and think, just give us a phone call and we would be happy to help.

6. Have you decided what your promotions will be? 

Do you need to design or print any coupons or rebate forms? How will the coupons be distributed? Have you decided between “50% off” or “Buy One Get One Free”? Is all of your inventory on sale, or just specific items? When a purchase is made, are you rewarding your customers with a free promo product (branded, of course, with your logo)? If you have a loyalty program, will members have access to additional rewards as well?

5. Have you made an effort to spread the word?

Did you advertise your specials on your website? What about sending out postcards or letters through the mail? Have you sent any email blasts to your customer base? Did you talk to any of your business partners or mention anything to your networking groups? Have your employees been talking about it on social media or with their family and friends?

4. Is your store ready for the stampede of customers? 

If someone is walking by your store, will they notice you or your Black Friday efforts? Did you invest in banners, posters or other branding pieces for in-store? How are your products displayed? Will customers be able to find what they are looking for easily? Will your product displays be able to withstand the crowds, or will they become torn, tattered and ragged right away? Do you have enough cashiers on the clock? Will there be long lines anywhere in your store? Do you have special literature to slip into your customers’ shopping bags so that they can take home info about you?

3. Is your website ready to withstand the crowds of online shoppers?

Do you sell products or services on your website? Are you going to have online specials on Black Friday or Cyber Monday? What about both, or an entire weekend of sales? Will your servers be able to handle the increased volume of traffic? Do you have enough bandwidth? Do you know who to call for tech support? Did you showcase your specials on your homepage? Did you set up your promotional coupon codes and test them thoroughly to be sure that everything works during checkout? Do you have enough inventory or are you going to run out early on?

2. Have you thought about all the shipping you may have to do? 

Do you have the manpower to actually get all your products shipped on time? Did you stock up on packaging materials? Will you have to address packages by hand or do you have the ability to automatically print a label when you receive an order? Does your packaging feature your branding so that everybody in the postal system gets a dose of your brand exposure?

1. Is your social media manager ready for the onslaught of comments and complaints? 

What if shoppers complain about standing in line too long? What if one of your employees makes a mistake and somebody posts photos or video of it online, and the content goes viral? Do you have anybody there to monitor your social media accounts in realtime? Are you saying “thank you” for positive comments? Do you have a plan for negative comments? Are you wasting the opportunity to increase your online presence, or are you on top of all of this?

Wow, that’s a lot of questions… Better safe than sorry!