Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fortune Favors the Prepared Retailer

Christmas is rapidly approaching and for many retailers, it’s the make or break period of the year; the time when sales are high and when the majority of the profit is made for the year.  So how can you assure that your store is properly prepared for success - to maximize your profits this year?

Proper planning and preparation is the answer. The sooner you start contemplating and preparing to get ready for the critical Holiday Season, the more likely we will be to generate profitable sales - your preparation will pay off!
This includes not only what products you will buy, but how you will market those products, how you will display them in the store, how you can delight customers with service and ultimately, how your staff will convert your customers from browsers to buyers when they walk in your store!  Focusing on these five key areas will ensure that you and your team are ready to achieve your seasonal goals.

1.       Marketing - This is the key to all your holiday success. Spending ample time now to create a well thought out marketing calendar will help to insure you meet your sales goals and that you highlight the merchandise you have brought in exclusively for the holiday season.

2.       Inventory - Confirm shipping of all Holiday product deliveries with vendors now. You don’t want to find out that merchandise you were counting on is going to be late or worse yet, is not going to come! Make sure all holiday purchase orders have start and cancel date; you should plan to have orders arrive between 10/15 and 11/15.

3.       Display - Plan your store displays now (both inside and out). Decide what products you want to feature in weekly rotations of window/in store displays for November/December based on sales plans by department and the merchandise you have already purchased. Make sure you have enough fixtures on hand  and ample table assortments (for boxed/wrapped merchandise)

4.       Staffing - Determine how many selling hours you will need to achieve your sales plan for the season. Now is the time to recruit, interview and hire your new staff. Hiring in advance will help you to recruit the best candidates and will also ensure that you have ample time for training

5.       Sales -  Determine if you will have any additional holiday technology needs (now is the time to purchase or rent software/hardware if necessary such as additional registers or hand held check out devices that will speed up check out on very busy days. Thinking about how your store can use technology to improve your customers’ in-store service and experience will go a long way toward creating satisfied customers during the Christmas buying crush!
In order to achieve the maximum success during your holiday selling season, your planning must start well in advance of the season. You will be too busy in the dog days of December so the planning must be done well in advance.

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