Now that fall is here, the holidays are right around the corner, which means a busy season for shoppers and businesses alike. Now is the time to start preparing your business for the fast-approaching holiday season. If the summer season has flown by and now fall has taken you by surprise, you may not feel ready for the holiday rush just yet. If you’re feeling underprepared, follow these tips for preparing your retail store for the holidays. Make up lost time by jumping on these tasks now before it’s too late. If you wait, your competitors can snatch up your potential customers instead.
Plan Your Store Hours
The first step in prepping your store for the holidays is to choose whether you will adjust your store hours. Many businesses choose to expand their hours during the holidays to encourage more shopping during the year’s busiest shopping season. If you’re interested and think your business fits the bill, Black Friday shopping week is an excellent place to start. Many stores begin to push products and stay open later, starting even at the beginning of the week. Some businesses will even expand their hours during the entire holiday season. To compete with other businesses around you, you want to choose your expanded store hours now so that you can plan around this new schedule.
Identify Your Staffing Needs and Schedule
Now that you have your holiday hours planned, you’ll need to hire the extra staff to fill these extended hours. Even if you choose not to adjust your store hours for the holiday season, you may still want to hire some seasonal help for the influx of customers you can expect. Create a schedule that will accommodate the number of customers you expect at certain times and days. For example, you may want to schedule more employees for the weekends when more people are shopping. Or, if you know you have a certain time of day when most customers stop by, make sure to schedule enough help. Being understaffed during the holiday shopping rush can lead to stressed-out employees and angry customers.
Expand Your Team
Once you have identified your need for more help, get the word out there. Let potential candidates know that you are hiring early in the season to have plenty of time to train new employees. You may even want to look for applicants who have previous seasonal retail experience, as they’ll feel prepared for the shopping rush that comes with the holidays. Make sure you post your job listings as early as possible to find the help you need. You can post job openings to job sites, your business’s website, or even through social media posts.
Make Time for Training
Once you have your team filled out with the seasonal (or permanent) help you need, get everyone up to speed with training courses. If you’ve hired more than a few pairs of extra hands, consider using group training sessions to save time. Make sure that your new hires know how to greet holiday shoppers, answer customer questions, work the registers, and more. A big holiday concern for many retail stores is an increase in shoplifting events. Train your new and old hires to prepare for these types of events, how to recognize the warning signs, and how to prevent thefts.
Decorate Your Displays
Don’t forget to schedule some extra time to decorate your displays and your store. You may have already noticed some of your competitors decorating for the fall season by now. Adding decorations to your store display and throughout the store is a fun way to bring some festivity to your space. It can improve both your customer’s and your employee’s moods during this busy time of year. Plus, decorating your displays is a great way to showcase some of your seasonal products with a beautiful backdrop.
Plan Your Promotions Early
If you don’t already have your seasonal promotions planned, now is the time to do it. You want to plan your deals before they start to give your marketing team plenty of time to prepare and schedule the marketing materials. Because most businesses start to push their holiday deals as soon as October with Halloween and November with Black Friday, you want to make sure you get a head start on planning and marketing. Knowing your deals ahead of time also gives you plenty of time to order any promotional materials, such as posters, signs, displays, and more.
Start Your Marketing
Once you sort out your promotions and deals, your team can start the ever-important marketing process. As customers get more and more excited about deals and savings this time of year, it’s important to spread the word as much as possible. You can target future customers with social media posts, customer emails, banners on your website, physical marketing in-store, and more. All these marketing techniques will come together to spread the word and bring more people into your store. Just make sure you don’t overshare—there is a delicate balance between spreading the word to potential customers and spamming your current ones.
Overall, the holiday season is an exciting time for businesses big and small, as more customers will be shopping at this time of year. Not only is it a busy time of year for shopping customers, but businesses must put in a lot of work to prepare for it as well. Getting on top of holiday preparations now can be the difference between increasing your sales from last year and a disappointing season. Follow these tips for preparing your retail store for the holidays to make sure that you prepare your business.
The Global Display Solutions can help your store feel ready for the upcoming holiday shopping season with a variety of retail display solutions. You can dress up your displays and decorate your store with signage of all your upcoming deals to encourage more sales than ever. This way, your deals will be clear, readable, and entice customers to visit and shop.