It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Although it feels like Summer just ended, now is the time to start your holiday planning. Be prepared and you’ll enjoy a successful (and stress-free) season. Get started today with these helpful tips on what to do right now.
Tidy up your sales floor
Time will soon be limited and many shoppers will be visiting your store for the first time. Make an excellent lasting impression with a clean and organized store.
- Do all of your deep cleaning now. Mop and dust all those hard to reach places.
- Replace any burnt-out light bulbs and patch up any holes in your wall from old hanging displays or artwork.
- Check the stock levels of your supplies: bags, business cards, receipt paper, etc. Order any special seasonal packaging like gift boxes or gift wrap.
- Organize your checkout counter so you aren’t scrambling when the line gets long.
- Develop a plan for your decorations and displays. This article is a great place to start!
Analyze your inventory
- Review your purchase orders and talk with your vendors to manage your incoming inventory.
- Review last year’s sales and any notes you have. Take note of any specific styles or brands that did well and make sure you ordered accordingly for even more success this year.
- Monitor your August and September sales to spot early hot sellers.
- Ask your shoppers! Are they looking for something specific? If you ask now, you’ll still have time to order. Grab their name and phone number so you can contact them when their special request arrives in store.
- Focus on finding a happy balance of inventory. You want to make sure you are fully stocked for the busy season, but if you go overboard, you’ll be stuck with too much merchandise in January that you’ll likely have to mark down.
Meet with your employees
Photo courtesy of A Beautiful Mess
- Have a staff meeting to get everyone prepared and on the same page.
- Discuss any extended store hours and get everyone’s detailed availability.
- Decide if you need to hire seasonal staff and begin the interviewing process. Allow yourself enough time for training before traffic picks up.
- Stress the importance of good customer service, even during the hectic times. It’s what sets small businesses apart. Practice what to do in certain scenarios so everyone is comfortable with procedures and problem solving.
- Consider setting sales goals and offer incentives to encourage your employees.
- Brainstorm ideas on how to stay positive and keep everyone’s spirits up during the stressful times.
Prepare your promotions
- Map out specific dates and deals you are going to offer. Some important dates to consider include: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve.
- Plan on how you are going to promote your sales. Are you going to use in store signage, traditional advertising, or online marketing?
- Determine the fine print on all promotions. What are the dates and times for each promotion. Do offers expire? Are there specific brands or products that are excluded from any discounts? Are you making adjustments to your return policy? Be sure you are completely clear with your shoppers to avoid any issues.