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Best Buy's Intense Black Friday Store Strategy, Mapped Out

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Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

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Yesterday, nearly all of Best Buy's employees at 1,400 US locations were up early preparing for Black Friday by going through a dry run of the day. The Washington Post sat in on the rehearsal at a Best Buy in Arlington, Virginia to get a first-hand look at how the store prepares to handle the crowds.

Merchandise that usually remains locked up will be kept unlocked so employees can get to it faster. 10 people have been designated simply to find and replenish holes in stock anywhere in the store during the entirety of the sale period, while nine employees will man a 12-foot station where customers can pick up items that they've bought online. According to the company, these purchases account for 40% of online revenue.

Pre-routing the lines to avoid congestion is a big deal: separate lines are marked out for different doorbuster deals and snake through low-traffic areas like the dishwasher section. Other lines for gaming systems are purposefully routed through the DVD section in hopes that waiting customers will pick up more items while waiting to check out. Outside, the line of customers waiting to get into the store crossed into Target's area last year and caused plenty of headaches. This year, they purposefully rerouted that line to head towards T.J.Maxx instead because that retailer won't be open on Thanksgiving.

Thankfully, the day also calls for a break in regular company dress code. According to Rob Delissio, Alexandria's store manager, the employees can exchange their solid black shoes for any kind of comfortable footwear.
· Best Buy's Black Friday dress rehearsal: How one retailer girds itself for the shopping crush [Washington Post]
· Black Friday 2014 Deals: 166 Sales And Counting [Racked]
· Are Black Friday Sales Worth the Hype? Experts Weigh In [Racked]