5 Tips to Help Retailers Prepare for the Holiday Rush During Summer
By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle
Whether you are party store, costume shop, event focused business or are a general retailer, looking ahead to the holiday rush should be on your to-do-list. But let’s face it – it’s not always easy to identify ways to plan ahead when you aren’t sure exactly what you can do now to help you later. Keeping this in mind, consider how the below five tips can help you prepare for the 2019 holiday rush.
Plan Holiday Events In Advance
From securing dates to host events to identifying what specific events you want to schedule, planning ahead is key when it comes to supporting your customers and sales this holiday season. Beginning with back-to-school then Halloween then Thanksgiving and Small Business Saturday – which supports the Shop Small movement and is the Saturday following Thanksgiving – to Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, there are a lot of holidays to consider. Look ahead on your calendar and consider how at least one small and one bigger event can support each of these holidays. Also consider what will be most exciting to your customers so that you are investing your time, energy and even dollars into planning events that will benefit your customers and store alike.
Schedule Promotional Marketing Now
The early bird gets the worm, as the saying goes, and this benefits busy retailers more than anyone. Consider all your promotional avenues – including email marketing, social media, in-store signage, local networking groups and more – then proactively identify ways you can work on each of these efforts with the holidays in mind. From creating holiday signage now to drafting promotional emails in advance to creating social media graphics to have ready to go and share as you approach the holidays, take advantage of summertime to prepare for your holiday chaos in advance.
Review Your Inventory & Merchandising Plans
Buying for your store traditionally happens well in advance, so take the time to review what is scheduled to be delivered in the months ahead in an effort to ensure you haven’t missed an important trend or opportunity for your unique business. During this process, also consider how you can incorporate your incoming inventory into merchandising strategies that include window displays, holiday highlights and promotional efforts that will benefit your holiday strategies and sales. The main takeaway is this, however… plan ahead. If you know in advance what window displays you need to create, for example, you can be prepared by having these merchandising details ready to go when it’s go-time to create your window. This advanced planning will save you time plus deliver ease to your undoubtedly busy agenda this holiday season.
Stock Extra Gift Wrap and Store Packaging
The holidays are about parties and fun, but also about spending and giving. Whether your customers are buying for themselves or others, be prepared by having the necessary packaging materials you need to support the influx of holiday sales. From store-branded bags to tissue paper to packaging materials to shipping labels to gift wrap and more, consider everything you need to support these demands. Don’t forget any extra special touches you may want to offer – such as a variety of holiday gift wrap options or store branded ribbons – as well. Collectively, these efforts will benefit you and customers alike this holiday season.
Plan in Advance for Seasonal Hires
Looking at your current staff, do you feel confident you can manage the working hours necessary to support the holiday rush? Take the time to review their holiday availability, then consider if you need seasonal hires to help support any additional demands.
Finally, when it comes to the holidays don’t overlook the value in offering ways for your customers to save. Everyone wants a deal and during the holidays is no exception. Consider how you can promote specific items for less than their normal price to help drive sales to your store – all while capturing more dollars along the way. Plus, this presents a great opportunity to include emails, social media updates and in-store signage to help promote your business.
And last but not least, save time for fun! Plan an employee holiday party and get the save the date out now. Retail is a lot of work all year long but the holidays can take it to another level. With some advanced planning and a little TLC, you can look forward to making this your best holiday sales season yet!