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The cold wind of fall is a sure sign that holidays are looming over us. First comes Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving, and then the most wonderful time of the year: Christmas. It is indeed a gift-giving season where people are more motivated to go on a shopping spree.
The Christmas holiday is definitely the most profitable season for entrepreneurs. In fact, recent Christmas shopping statistics show that a whopping USD $1 trillion is spent by consumers in the USA while a significant GBP 2 billion is expended in the UK. It is also the most stressful time of the year.
You are probably well aware of what I’m talking about: the Christmas rush. The time when stores are crowded, high streets are chaotic and people are frantic in preparation for the feast and the amazing gifts. It can be absolute mayhem for people manning and operating the retail stores. So here are some tips for your business to survive Christmas rush.
Set an Action Plan
You do not ever want to step into December without proper preparation for the Christmas rush. It is easy to lose focus after all the holidays that come before Christmas, but it is not an acceptable reason to enter it unprepared. Set a plan of action before the month of December. Setup strategies for every department involved in your store operation based on previous years sales and operations. Make a list of things to do, assess your inventory, and ready your decors.
Hire Educated Staff
Evaluate your staffing needs, whether you currently have adequate numbers or if you identify the need for temporary staff. It is imperative that you hire well-train and versed employees about the ways to handle the stress that comes with the shopping rush. They should be well prep about how to handle things like rude customers, return purchases, and out of stock items to name a few.
Teach them a few techniques on how to deescalate situations and keep their calm. Educate them about the importance of great customer experience. Never execute any cost-saving methods when it comes to staffing in the holiday season. It can lead to frustrated and exhausted employees.
Give a Piece of Christmas Cheer
Never forget to celebrate the season. Demonstrate this by decorating your store that reflects the holidays. Give out little tokens of appreciation to customers like cookies or candies. Playing Christmas themed music in your store and greet your customer with a cheerful “Merry Christmas.”
You can also use this opportunity to make a presence in your local community by supporting or giving donations to local NGOs (non-governmental organization). Never forget to share the blessing with your workers by giving them Christmas baskets filled with groceries.
Prepare Your Inventory
There will be certain items in your store that will sell like there is no tomorrow. Make sure you properly assess the possible trend and prepare your inventory by stocking up on marketable items. You can ensure sufficient supply by looking for the right supplier and a backup supplier. An establishment that provides adequate supply is a blessing to a last-minute shopper, and that can leave a lasting impression that you are reliable.
To top off your store this season, you might want to have some add-on service. It could mean providing gift wrapping service, extended operating hours, holiday photo booth, or the very presence of Santa Claus. Make sure that out of all of these, prioritize services that offer convenience. You might want to offer free delivery for a certain item or when a particular amount is reached. Hire additional people for the gift wrapping section to hasten the queue.