Edge Retail Academy’s holiday season preparation to-do list
The busiest time of year is upon us, and with the excitement of the festive season and the hope of some bigger sales to hit the bank account comes the feeling of overwhelm that this time of year can bring. Resources are always stretched; staffing is at full capacity and the investment in inventory is at an all time high. December is a time to focus on making the most money during the year, but the time to think about it is now.
Here’s our list of top ten things to do before December is upon us and the time for planning ahead has disappeared.
1. Sort the December schedule now. Chances are your hours will lengthen at this time of year. Some additional late nights and trading days will see you needing all hands-on deck. Don’t wait until December begins to sort your staffing. Ensure you have prepared the schedule well in advance and everyone knows their days. Have contingencies in place for illness and make sure everyone gets some down time in order to stay fresh.
2. Identify your fast sellers and make sure you have them in place. The 80/20 rule is never more alive than in December. Now is the time to make sure your best sellers don’t run out. Print a list of fast sellers by department and determine which items are likely to sell in larger quantities in December, then make sure you have enough spares to get you through this busy time
3. Set a staff incentive. Staff responds to rewards and now is the best time to offer them. Determine your budget for the month and offer staff and incentive if you can achieve it. Look at running rewards for the highest sale of the day.
4. Plan your marketing. Your marketing can never be more important than now. What customer evenings will you be running? What promotional materials and via what marketing medium will you be reaching out to your customers and the public at large?
5. Lights, lights, lights! It’s the little things that count. Replacing light bulbs, whether they’ve gone or not, can make a huge difference to your diamonds’ sparkle. Likewise make sure displays are clean, price tickets are fresh, and the store looks ready for business.
6. Invest some time in staff training. A quick refresher in sales techniques for your staff can pay big dividends during December, but you won’t have time once the month begins. Implement a series of training sessions in the lead up to get your staff at their most effective.
7. Ensure your consumables are ordered. It’s the small things that can cause the biggest problems. Make sure you have plenty of wrapping paper, boxes, ribbons and other consumables that you’ll need. Nothing is worse than the EFTPOS machine running out of paper!
8. Plan your inventory delivery. We tend to order our new product lines for December early, but we don’t necessarily need it until the month begins. Organizing later delivery will ease cash flow until such time as the money starts to come in.
9. Look for add-ons. All your best-selling big-ticket items should have a ‘go-to’ add on that can be offered with each sale. Add ons can make a huge difference particularly at this time of year
10. Work your list. If you have a good customer list it’s time to reach out. Most people will need at least one gift at this time of year. Don’t leave it to chance for them to come to you. Make a strong offer early in the season to keep yourself top of mind.
Don’t leave planning for the busiest time of year until it’s too late, or worse, not plan at all. A little bit of time now will pay huge rewards for you later. December can contribute as much as 25% of your total yearly sales and can be almost 100% of the profits for some stores. Make an investment of time to ensure it goes well.