The holiday season is in full swing and chances are, you and your team are busy gearing up for the weeks to come. To help prep your business for a successful holiday season, we’re rounding up some of the key steps you should take ASAP to ensure that your store business is ready for the Christmas rush.
Let’s dive in.
Stock up on supplies and gift cards
At this point, you’ve likely stocked up on your bestsellers and seasonal items. Your shelves are filled with gift items, along with merchandise that your customers can use in their festivities.
That’s all well and good, but don’t forget to stock up on holiday products for your own retail business. Below are some of the supplies that you’ll need to adequately serve your holiday customers:
Cash desk supplies – These include shopping bags, pens, till tape, staplers, hold tags, extra cash float — these items tend to grow legs and disappear when things get busy, so make sure you have an adequate supply. You may also want to increase your daily cash float, so you’re never caught off guard.
Gift cards – A 2018 holiday survey by Deloitte found that gift cards and certificates were the top purchased gifts, with 54% of consumers saying that they plan to buy gift cards during the holidays. We can expect this trend to continue in 2019. And you’ll want to capitalise on this by having enough stock in your shop.
For best results, have an attractive gift card stand on your checkout counter and set up displays in the high-traffic parts of your store so shoppers don’t miss them.
Gift wrappers and boxes – Even if you’re not planning to provide gift-wrapping services, you’ll likely encounter a few customers who’ll ask for gift packaging. Don’t let them down. Have wrappers and boxes handy to make your products “gift ready.”
Enhance your store security
Security should be a priority all year round, but it’s even more critical during the holiday season. More in-store traffic leads to higher risks for safety hazards as well as fraud and theft. That’s why you must take the necessary steps to secure your business.
Think about crowd control – If your store has a tendency to get too crowded during the holidays, you need to devise ways to control traffic flow. Some retailers, for instance, limit the number of people in their shops and request that guests fall in line outside. Implementing crowd control efforts may require things like signage and stanchion ropes, so purchase these things ahead of time.
Plan for various scenarios – Be prepared for emergencies by mapping out evacuation routes and communication plans. And if you haven’t done so yet, find out the contact information of the nearest security office (e.g., mall security and local police officers) so you know who to contact in case of an emergency.
Beef up your EPOS security – Your EPOS system can be a prime target for thieves and fraudsters, so keep it secure by:
● Downloading the latest version of your EPOS software. This will give you the latest security patches and features, which will minimise the chances of compromise.
● Updating user permissions to ensure that only authorised personnel can perform tasks like issuing refunds, selling gift cards, etc.
● Preventing equipment tampering by checking your terminals regularly and watching out for broken seals, missing screws, etc.
● Making sure your checkout area is secure. Keep valuable information away from prying eyes by positioning your EPOS, card terminals, and screens for maximum privacy. Make use of secure shelves, stands, and security cables to prevent unauthorised removal. Mount your PIN pads securely on the counter, and utilise locking stands to protect your equipment.
● Keeping your EPOS network secure. See to it that your network for processing sales is separate from guest and employee WiFi.
Make sure your team members are prepared
Prep your team for the seasonal rush by orienting them on your holiday merchandise and promotions. See to it that each associate is well-aware of your store policies and operations. Create collateral and cheat sheets that they can refer to and conduct daily meetings so you can offer pep talks and answer questions.
If you’re hiring seasonal employees, pair them with your senior staff. This will minimise errors and keep your store running smoothly.
And don’t forget that the holiday season can take its toll on everyone — including your team. Find ways to spread the cheer in the coming weeks through perks, gifts, and words of encouragement. The happier your employees are, the better they’ll perform.
Set up a system for capturing data
The Christmas season will bring in more traffic, transactions, and sales — all positive things for retailers. But another great byproduct of the busy shopping season is it gives you the opportunity to collect more data.
And when you play your cards right, you can use all that information to get to know your business and your customers. This leads to smarter decisions to help you thrive in 2020 and beyond.
So, add data collection to your holiday to-do list.
Arm your business with a retail reporting solution that can surface insights around your sales and inventory.
Don’t forget to collect shopper data. You want to have a CRM that enables you to capture shopper information with ease, so you can get to know your customer base and communicate with them going forward.
The holiday season is always hectic, which is why being organised and vigilant are key. Follow the steps above to ensure that you’re able to run a smooth and thriving retail store this Christmas!