We know we’re not the only ones that feel holiday shopping comes earlier and earlier each year, right? Fall has barely begun, but the red and green decor is already filling up store shelves as shoppers (and retailers) get in the swing of the holiday shopping season. For many retailers, the holiday season is the most profitable time of year, along with planning for the new year.
Research shows that 30% of consumers will start their hunt for the perfect gift before Halloween. If your store isn’t prepared for the holidays by the end of October, you could be missing out on prime sales opportunities.
In this article, we explore three actionable steps you can take now to prepare your business for the holiday shopping season.
Hire Seasonal Workers
Foot traffic is sure to pick up during the last three months of the year. Prepare by hiring and training those seasonal workers now. Even though workers are part-time and short-term, providing proper training will ensure they actually help, not hinder, sales and customer service.
Identify what duties you’d like seasonal workers to handle, and how they can best enhance your full-time team. By giving everyone clear expectations, you’ll set a precedent that will streamline processes and ensure both employees and customers have a great experience.
Prepare for Holiday Promotions
Know ahead of time what promotions you want to run this holiday season. As you’re planning upcoming promotions, take a look around your store — do your current store fixtures effectively display and promote special gifts? Is your signage up to date? Do you need a POP display for that special brand everyone loves?
While you’re planning in-store promotions, schedule your social media and email promotions, too. A coordinated effort can help you reach more customers, but you’re less likely to actually get around to the posts if you wait until the last minute to write them out. It’s better to plan ahead so you can focus less on promotional material and more on meeting customers’ needs during operational hours.
Plan for Any Scenario
Bigger crowds, winter weather, and higher product demand can create a perfect storm for your store. While we all hope nothing serious happens during the holiday shopping season, it’s best to be prepared for any scenario that may come along. Here are five things you will want to consider:
- Shoplifters: What steps do you have in place to deter shoplifting? What is the protocol for a suspected shoplifter?
- Rush shopping times: When are these days/times and how can you best prepare your store and staff for the rush?
- Low stock/sold out: Train your staff to respond professionally when an item is out of stock.
- Holiday money scams: Know what scams are circulating in your area. Train staff to identify counterfeit bills and install security cameras if possible.
- Inclement weather: If your geographic area is prone to winter storms, set an inclement weather policy and clearly communicate it to employees and customers.
- Emergency: There are countless scenarios that one hopes never happens. But in the unlikely event of an emergency, ensure you have a plan in place. Train employees on how to safely evacuate customers, and how to secure the store if necessary.
With the right planning and preparation, you can create a magical holiday shopping experience that will keep customers coming back for more. For more retail tips and resources to help you survive the holiday shopping season, check out the blogs below, or contact one of our Store Design Specialists to assess your current store fixtures.