4 Tips to Help Retailers Prepare for the Holidays Now
From festive window displays to increased inventory sell-thru to hiring seasonal employees, there is a lot on a retailer’s to-do-list when it comes to preparing for the holidays. Among the key points on any merchant’s checklist as they prepare for the busiest shopping season of the year should be making sure their store is adequately prepared to welcome customers and employees alike both safely and confidently in their store environment. To help consider these 4 tips below.
Tip #1: Strengthen Your Safety Efforts Prior to the Holiday Rush
As the saying goes… it’s better to be “safe than sorry” and this could not be truer when it comes to preparing your store for the holiday rush. Among the safety details you should review and strengthen include:
- Building Maintenance: Whether you lease or own your retail space, take the time now to review the health of your furnace and heaters, refrigerators and freezers and all other key components of your space that may be impacted by weather – including windows, doors and the spaces that surround the entrances and exits of your building. Don’t overlook your necessary maintenance in your bathroom and fitting rooms, as well, if applicable.
- Slip & Fall Prevention: Incorporating durable floor mats at the entrances and exits of your store can help avoid unexpected – and often damaging – falls in your store. Additionally, having salt purchased and ready to use for salting sidewalks and common exterior space is always a good idea to help avoid accidents, as well, when the weather suddenly takes a turn for the worse. Incorporating hand railings or making sure existing hand railings are strong and securely in place is also a good idea.
- Snow Removal Plans: Rather than wait until the last minute to identify what to do when snow falls, have a plan in place for a snow removal service provider to clear your entrances and exits in a timely matter. Inclement weather should not prevent customers from visiting your store, so ensure you are prepared to react no matter what the weather is. If you choose to handle this internally, make sure you clearly identify with your entire team what the protocol is and who is in charge of what. Plus, be sure you have the right equipment – including durable shovels and weather proof footwear – to help avoid accidents due to these efforts.
Additionally, when it comes to safety you can never be too clear among your employees on what your store expectations are. Set standards and have these firmly outlined for your entire team to review and sign off on as having read and understood. Take the added steps of making these visible for easy review and reference, as well.
#2: Have a Merchandising Schedule in Place
When the holidays come it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, but don’t let this keep your store from engaging in festive store updates along the way. To ensure your store stays holiday fresh throughout the entire season, schedule merchandising updates now. Identify what themed décor you will need for your displays and then make sure you have this décor purchased and ready now versus trying to track down last minute. From window displays to interior merchandising strategies to point-of-sale displays and more, review your store to prepare for what you will need to look like later. Don’t forget to factor in the inventory you are having delivered into your store for this time of year, as well.
#3: Schedule Employee Trainings
Often, retailers hire new employees for the holidays while other times retailers increase existing staff hours. Either way, the holidays present a great excuse to update your store team on everything from store policies to customer care expectations to how to handle down-time in between customer visits and more. A training is a great way to make sure all employees are on the same page when it comes to store expectations, but it also presents an opportunity to strengthen team morale and overall spirit leading into a busy time of year. Make it productive but also make it fun. Arming your employees with clear guidelines for your store should be a priority… but arming them with clear guidelines in addition to increased store respect and appreciation is even better.
#4: Identify Marketing Efforts to Bring More Awareness to Your Store
From leveraging local media for publicity to incorporating heightened social media efforts to building email campaigns nowto avoid having to do later, there is no better time than today to begin your holiday marketing efforts. Ensure your store is positioned to stand-out among your local marketplace and big box competitors by getting savvy with your marketing goals. Scheduling, promoting and ultimately hosting in-store events (both small and large scale) during the holidays is a great idea, as is creating promotional campaigns that drive foot traffic to your store. Don’t dismiss partnering with like-minded yet non-competitive businesses, as well, to generate increased visibility among consumers.
Finally, while retail races rapidly throughout the holiday season, don’t forget to take time to enjoy the ride along the way, as well. Begin today – and even turn on some holiday music to help get you in the spirit – to ensure your holiday season will be your most profitable and enjoyable yet.
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