3 Tips for Setting your Holiday Hours

Written by Square, Inc. for Retail Minded.

As a retailer, it’s likely that your busiest season is the latter part of the year. A sales spike is always a good thing, but with it comes the stress of managing the rush. Planning is the name of the game to limit your frenzy. You need to make sure you’ve stocked up correctly (read our tips for how to manage holiday inventory), staffed appropriately, and plotted out any holiday promotions or sales.

You also need to figure out your holiday hours. Being super-strategic about when you stay open helps you make more sales. It also saves you money (think: less time for employees to sit around in an empty store playing on their phones). Here are some tips to help you plan out your holiday hours:

Look at your data.

You probably remember last December being crazy. But do you know specifically which days were your busiest? How about which hours of which days? To be smart about planning your holiday hours, you’ll want to spend some time analyzing last year’s sales trends so you know exactly when you saw surges in business. If you sell with Square, you can use your back-end analytics to check your sales spikes from last holiday season by the day, week, and month. Did you see an increase in sales in the last few hours you were open on December 20? That’s a good indication that you’ll want to stay open a bit later that day to maximize your revenue. On that same day, was it really slow in the morning? Then perhaps you should open up after lunch. Knowing exactly when you tend to have peaks and valleys in business makes you smarter about setting this year’s hours.

Talk to your staff.

Start having conversations with your staff now about which days and hours they can commit to working during the holiday season —especially around the latter part of December. Then send official holiday schedules around (and post them in break rooms) so that everyone knows who is on tap when. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re short a few crucial hands a week before your busiest time. Read more tips on how to be smart about planning your holiday staffing.

Let your customers know.

Make sure your customers are in the loop about your holiday hours. This is particularly important if you have limited hours before major holidays, or if you’re bucking the trend and planning to stay open those days. If you’re a clothing boutique that will be open for business on December 31, for example, you might let customers know you’re there for any last-minute New Year’s outfit needs (or crises). Street signage, social media, and email marketing are the best ways to get messages out about your holiday hours. Square’s email marketing software has holiday-themed templates that make it easy to quickly send out announcements to your customers about your hours.

Spending the time to be thoughtful and strategic about setting your holiday hours helps things run more smoothly once the craze hits. It also helps you make as many sales as possible. Here’s to having your best holiday season yet.

Learn More About Square

Square creates the tools businesses need to unlock the value of every sale. Square’s register service is a full point of sale with tools for every part of running a business, from accepting credit cards and tracking inventory to invoicing and real-time analytics.

The article was provided by Square, Inc., a payment processor that enables businesses to accept payments every way their customers want to pay. Businesses can get started with payments, grow their daily operations with inventory, analytics and staff management, and expand their reach with marketing and financial resources. Find out more at

Photo Credit: Provided by Square with permission to use. 

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