How to Prepare Your Retail Store for the Holiday Season
Is your store ready for the holiday rush?
Once again, we are only a few months away from the holiday season. People will start to flood the streets again to buy presents for their loved ones. Markets and malls will be more crowded than usual, and your ears are going to get used to the Christmas songs often played somewhere around your neighborhood. Everyone feels so merry indeed, especially for business fellows who own retail stores.
The upcoming influx of customers during the holidays is one of a kind. Even with the rise of e-commerce, many people still prefer going out with the rest of their family when shopping as they are keener on enjoying what this season can offer. This can be an excellent opportunity for retailers to amp up their game plan and take advantage in order to significantly increase their sales.
Customer Statistics During the Holiday Season
Customers tend to behave differently in the months of November and early days of January. As a matter of fact, an average shopper would spend over $100 on themselves alone during Christmas shopping. On a larger scale, people in the United States and the UK have spent a total of $1 trillion and £2 billion respectively during the holiday season.
Due to the hype and culture of giving brought by the holiday season, people are pretty much willing to buy gifts. According to statistical records, the wide variety of gift purchases can fall into one of the following categories listed below:
- 61% of consumers purchase clothing and accessories
- 30% of buyers invested money in electronics
- 20% of consumers simply give cash as a gift
Additionally, the payment method most customers use is via credit card or savings. With such figures continually increasing year after year, it seems like nothing can stop this remarkable phenomenon.
These are the other facts about holiday shoppers the few people know:
- Christmas is now the busiest shopping day
- Chocolates are the number one gift for most adults while teenagers prefer books or money.
- 30% of all annual sales of retail comes from holiday shoppers
A usual tactic implemented by many retailers in the holidays in order to bring customers’ attention to their shops is by using gift offers, sales, and visual tricks.
Another retailing technique that has been proven to influence shoppers is playing Christmas songs.
Reasons Why You Should Strategize Your Plan for the Holiday Season Right Away
While it can never be denied that the holiday season is a golden time for retailers like you, keep in mind that it is also an optimal time for all forms of businesses to kick off their strategies to ensure that they will never be left behind. This is because competition during this season is on the rise, and you don’t want to lose sales from fellow competitors who come up with a better plan.
Here are other telltale reasons as to why you should formulate a plan on the holidays:
Most of the biggest shopping events are held at this time of the year. Customers tend to flock to shopping events, especially on holidays. If your store is located near malls and markets, you could use this to your advantage.
Track all of the upcoming events that are going to be held near your place with a calendar. The days that are marked with such days are the most appropriate time for you to execute your business plans for the holiday season.
Other businesses are now determining their discounts and other holiday offers. Providing discounts and other offers during the holidays can be a very daunting task to accomplish especially if you don’t have enough time to do the calculation.
These special benefits are a classic staple amongst businesses as it could give them the edge in improving their customer service. Unfortunately, this is something that can be planned on the last minute so make sure that you already have detailed planning on discounts and other holiday offers as early as possible.
Things could become pretty hectic once the holiday season starts. While this may sound like a bit cliché, you must be constantly reminded that the holidays are the busiest time of the year. In addition to your responsibility as the owner of a retail store, you also have other personal things to attend to, such as parties, vacation, etc.
With the sudden rise of customer traffic on your store combined with lesser attendance form your employees, everybody’s schedule could become pretty hectic indeed. Which means that you should anticipate what will happen by having a thorough plan on how your store can still operate in a competitive and efficient way.
Being well-prepared puts you ahead of your competitors. How can planning become the sign that you’re quite ahead on your competitors? The answer is simple: getting the message that you’re ready for the holiday season as early as now sets your customer’s attention to your product, which could help cultivate loyalty.
Your customers’ loyalty to your brand matters especially during the holiday season as they are more likely to come back to your store year after year.
Promoting your brand takes time. Brand promotion is another aspect that many businesses fail to consider as the holidays drew closer and closer. What’s the use of having a good business plan if people weren’t even aware of your brand in the first place?
There are different ways of promoting brand awareness and it will certainly require the collective efforts of your employees. And even with everyone working as a single unit, the positive effects brought by your promotional campaign won’t be felt on a single night. Promotion takes time, so you should do it as you prepare your retail store for the holiday season.
Preparing Your Retail Store for the Holiday Season
To help your retail business get in full shape this coming holiday season, here are some of the best ways that you can implement on your preparation:
Hire additional staff
As it was mentioned before, holidays are the times when people get to flood your store and they will come in numbers that might just become too much for your current staff to handle. You will definitely need some extra hand to prevent your entire business holiday plan from shattering.
As a rule of thumb, the optimal month to hire new employees is around the months of September and October. Within such a timeframe, you can have ample time to assess whether they are fit to work for your business or not. Remember to inform them that you will make a decision within the following weeks.
Gather plenty of inventory
Be sure that before the holiday season, you must already stockpile adequate inventory to satisfy the enormous demand of shoppers. If you really wanted to make people spend more money on the products that you sell, you should have ample stock as much as possible.
Fortunately, as the owner, it is basic knowledge for you to determine the difference between enough stock and too little. This means that you’re going to have fewer problems in applying this technique.
Inspect if you have enough cash reserves
Check your cash reserves and see if you have sufficient cash on hand. Your customers would most likely pay you in large bills, so your staff on the counter will also be giving them a lot of money for the change.
Set up your shop
Your in-store customer experience shall be the center of your business holiday plan. Everything would be in vain if you failed in setting the holiday mood in the overall ambiance of your store. Make their shopping experience more memorable by putting decorations as well as handing out coupons and freebies for your customers before they leave.
Automate your displays and product pricing
Modifying the way your products are displayed especially the labeling of their price can make a significant impact on the amount of money that you will receive from your customers. Keep your best items within eye-level on the shelves and prefer using ESLs (Electronic Shelf Labels) instead of traditional paper price tags.
ESLs are tags that enable you to display comprehensive product information in a digital fashion. If there are any sudden changes in the pricing and specifications of your product, the contents of each ESL can be altered right away.
You can execute your whole business holiday plan without any issues as it minimizes the tasks for your staff by automating your pricing needs and limits the time that they have to spend answering questions from curious customers.
Adding Electronic Shelf Labels to Your Holiday Plan
With ESLs, such as Newton by SOLUM, you can maximize your chances of augmenting your sales by avoiding crucial errors and pricing and product information.
Newton can also improve your customer engagement by using its interactive feature that enables them to wirelessly link their smartphones to the smart tags, giving them access to a link that contains more data about a product. It even allows them to give positive reviews, encouraging other customers to make a purchase.