Keeping Organized During the Holidays For Retail Stores

Keeping Organized During the Holidays For Retail Stores

The holidays are right around the corner which is great for business but not so great for your state of mind. The holidays can be crazy when you are a retailer – not only do you have to worry about doing your own holiday shopping but you have to work more hours and accommodate more business in your store. But don’t stress yet – we have a ton of tips on how to stay focused, calm and profitable during the busy holiday season. And with the current economy, having the holidays a little crazy will be a welcome stress.Staffing:Increased staffing and hours are a must during the holidays to stay organized and efficient. Determine your hours needed based on last year’s numbers and staff accordingly. Temporary employees may be a viable alternative if you have time to train them thoroughly, but with a store full of people with questions, or items to be rung at the register, new seasonal help may hinder your sales rather than help which will only leave your current employees frustrated and stressed. Kathy Ahearn, owner of Four Your Paws Only, has a few tips to keep her employees minds sharp and alert during the holiday season. “We have a store meeting each month and the focus of our December meeting is usually a refresher in customer service. Communication is key during this crazy time of year. We encourage the staff to be patient with difficult customers and appreciate the easy ones. We have a big holiday party for everyone and they look forward to that. On particularly busy days, we may bring in coffee and donuts or buy them lunch. They really appreciate that.”

Also make sure to contact the shopping area where you are located and staff according to any events that are planned such as Santa Claus visits or other holiday festivities. Keep in mind having your own in-store events can draw extra foot traffic, but can sometimes be detrimental during the holiday season due to the store being too overcrowded to shop or just by adding to the chaos. If you do decide to do your own event such as Santa Paws make sure to set up an area near but not in the store so shoppers can still browse and purchase. Early preparation is key for dealing with the holiday craziness and staffing accordingly will help keep your store running smooth.Vendors Marketing:Another successful tactic for keeping organized at the holidays is by keeping abreast as to what your vendors will have in stock and how quickly they can ship items. Build a relationship with your vendors and determine which vendors will give you the best customer service at the holidays. We only do business with vendors who answer our requests and inquires within 24 hours and who ship quickly because at the holidays, we don’t have time to wait for shipments and/or answers to pertinent questions. If you have to drop a vendor with a good product due to poor customer service, that will keep you on top of ordering and shipping. With our current industry it shouldn’t be difficult to replace the dropped product with something similar or even superior. Also check to see if your vendors have an early season discounted buying program to plan early and also to increase profitability. If you also run a website, make sure you add your products by early October to catch the early shoppers and also to not get caught trying to update the website when the holiday rush begins. Another tactic for keeping organized at the holidays is to have your marketing plan in place weeks before the rush begins. Determine the best advertising mediums for your store and make sure to include extended holiday hours in all your advertising and marketing. If you have everything in place with ordering and marketing for the store and website, the holiday craziness will be smooth sailing.

Personal Shopping:Planning your own personal shopping and errands early is another good way to focus on the store when it becomes crazy. There’s nothing worse then working a 12 hour day and then holiday shopping for your own family and friends after work. A good goal is to have all your shopping done by Thanksgiving weekend and then you can relax and enjoy the profits in December without worrying about your own to do list.If you are able to staff accordingly, plan your ordering early and work with vendors that have excellent customer service you should be able to avoid added stress at the holidays. Organization is key to success at the holidays!Tips:o Plan accordingly with staffing needs
o Stock accordingly, remember what sold out last year
o Choose vendors with fast shipping excellent customer service
o Ask vendors for early ship dates but delayed billing
o Advertise extended holiday hours
o Do your personal shopping early

By Lori Dotterweich from [web: tailsbythelake .com]