There’s nothing that says holiday shopping than overheated and crowded stores full of grumpy customers on long lines, ransacked departments and out-of-stock items. So how does one prepare to be retail ready for the mayhem of holiday shopping? You must start off by creating a plan.
The holiday season provides large opportunities for retailers of all sizes; however, the competition is intense, and customers are becoming smarter shoppers. With all the major chains and digital tech stores offering major sales, retailers are willing to do whatever they can to lure in customers.
To avoid the pit-fall of out-of-stock items, retailers need to control their inventory and stock shelves with the most popular items on the market. You can utilize your last year’s sales and historical data to determine what was mostly bought and what was least liked. This can help you figure out what products and supplies you need to quickly restock on and have a backup plan when possible.
The labor market is very tight during the holiday season, so retailers should discuss with their existing staff and determine everything from bonuses, perks, and extra hours to hiring additional people. You want to entice staff as much as you do with your customers. With expanding hours and extra staffing, retailers need to develop a framework that makes sense not only for their employees, but costumers as well. Extension of hours is always beneficial, but that means that closing time should be fluid and doors should shut down when the last customer leaves.
The bulk of your sales will come from your regular audience, however it’s important to attract new, potential customers. Communication regarding your seasonal plan is key and whether you do it online through your website, email blasts, signage within the store, etc., you want to make sure people are aware. How successful were your sales during Black Friday? What products sold out and which didn’t move off the shelves? Those are the things retailers need to look at in order to survive the wave of holiday shopping in December.
Shopping at big-box retail stores during the holiday season can be extremely unpleasant and almost terrifying. From stampedes of manic shoppers trampling others to raging individuals willing to fight for a product, it’s important to offer a great experience and avoid all the chaos. You want to offer a bit of ‘calm in the storm’ during this time of the year. Big-box retailer, Walmart, offered free coffee and cookies before the start of this year’s Black Friday savings. They also provided unbelievable prices on the most-wanted items and brands. The big-box’s mission for this year’s Black Friday was to create an experience that made shopping easier and fun, rather than chaotic and awful. It’s about going above and beyond and providing an experience that will make people keep coming back for more.