According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. Holiday Season sales totaled a whopping $626.1 billion in 2015. Now, the 2016 Holiday Season is almost upon us. Luckily for you, we’ve put together a list of holiday preparedness tips to help ensure that your business is ready to cash in on the biggest retail season of the year.
TIP #1: CONSIDER EXPANDING HOURS AND STAFF
Want to get as many of those holiday dollars as possible? One of the first things you may want to do is expand your hours. After all, the longer you’re open, the more you can sell. Just make sure you build your holiday employee schedule well in advance so that you can determine if you have a need to hire additional staff to help you get through this busy time of year.
TIP #2: DOUBLE DOWN ON YOUR COMMITMENT TO PERSONAL SERVICE
Increased traffic to your place of business means that you’ll want to place even more importance on delivering superior personal service. That’s because you’ll be interacting with more customers than normal. Plus, you’ll probably be encountering your fair share of first-time customers as well. Remember, a positive shopping experience during the holidays could lead to return business from satisfied customers throughout the year to come.
TIP #3: INCENTIVIZE PURCHASES WITH SEASONAL DEALS
Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday – consumers have come to associate these events with one thing and one thing only: saving money. Make sure you are attracting as many holiday shoppers as possible by offering discounts on par with those of your competitors (provided doing so still gives you an acceptable profit margin). Remember, the increase in traffic and the chance to form long-lasting relationships with new customers should more than make up for whatever discounts you decide to offer.
TIP #4: TRACK YOUR INVENTORY
If you’re running a business, correctly managing your inventory is important all year round. During the Holiday Season however, it’s more important than ever before. The last thing you want to do is miss out on sales because you’ve run out of items customers want. If possible, take a look at last year’s holiday sales to make sure you have your shelves stocked adequately.
TIP #5: SHOW YOUR HOLIDAY SPIRIT
A little holiday cheer can go a long way towards getting customers into the spirit of giving. Plant the seed in their minds that you are a holiday shopping destination by sprucing up your store with festive holiday decorations.
TIP #6: GIVE BACK
Remember, it’s always better to give than receive. Show your customers you’re in touch with the true spirit of the season and that you’re committed to the community you serve by supporting a local charity. Customers will feel even better about purchasing goods/services from you if you’re donating a portion of your proceeds to a worthwhile cause.
TIP #7: PROTECT CARDHOLDER DATA
With so many transactions taking place during the holiday season, the risk associated with data breaches is elevated. Make sure you are safeguarding sensitive cardholder data and protecting yourself against chargebacks by offering the very latest in EMV or “chip card” payment acceptance.
TIP #8: GET THE WORD OUT
Having a plan in place for the holidays doesn’t matter much if consumers don’t know what that plan is. Whether it’s via your email marketing campaign, your social media channels, or whatever other marketing efforts you have in place, make sure you keep customers in the loop as to your holiday plans including any expanded hours and special deals.