The holiday shopping season is almost here, and there are steps retailers must take now to see strong sales from Black Friday through the end of the year. This guide includes a few tips to help your store navigate the holiday shopping season while keeping cash registers jingling.
1. Be prepared. Stock up early for the holiday shopping season. Ideally, you should have started ordering merchandise over the summer, but if you missed some items or if you think you may have under-ordered, place those orders immediately.
Determining exactly which items holiday shoppers will want (and how many) can be tricky — especially if you don’t have historical sales data to rely upon. Consider using a software solution that tracks sales of specific products at individual stores over time and uses accumulated knowledge to predict sales during specific time periods, including the holidays.
Proper preparation for the holiday shopping season also means getting a better handle on inventory management. Use inventory-tracking software for greater visibility over inbound inventory to help reduce unnecessary costs of expedited shipping. Additionally, knowing when merchandise will arrive at your store helps you plan for shipments to arrive.
2. Practice savvy inventory management. Do you have a point of sale (POS) system that integrates with your inventory management system and allows you to set user-defined inventory levels? These solutions can automatically generate reorders when a quantity of a specific SKU drops below a certain level. Automatic re-ordering capabilities decrease the chance that items will be out of stock when holiday shoppers want them. The end-result: fewer sales lost to the competition. Automation also saves time. The more processes you can automate, the more time you and your managers will have to spend time to craft exceptional customer experiences throughout the holiday shopping season and the entire year.
3. Hire holiday help. With the influx of holiday shoppers, it’s more than likely that you will need to hire seasonal help to augment year-round staff. Hire now to attract the largest possible pool of qualified applicants, interview to find the best candidates for seasonal work at your business, and provide comprehensive training to help them be ready to handle the holiday shopping season rush.
The holiday shopping season is traditionally the biggest revenue generator for retailers. Increase your chances of success by making sure you are offering the right merchandise in the right quantities and that you have the right staff, trained and ready for the busy holiday season. In addition, with the right technology solutions in place, you can use data to help make fact-based decisions and automation to make some processes run more quickly and smoothly. Approaching the next few weeks strategically can contribute to profitability and competitiveness and allow you to offer great shopping experiences that help customers find everything on their lists.