How to Drive Sales and Protect Your Store in the Holiday Rush

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As we all know, holidays and special occasions – for example, school holidays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, Christmas and the post-Christmas sales – can be nothing short of hectic for both retailers and shoppers alike. Typically, these occasions come with a lot to consider; gifts to buy, trips to plan, events to organise and people to entertain. For retailers, these periods are a prime time for sales and it is imperative to understand how to maintain sales, attract more customers, enhance customer service and keep your business safe from theft during times of increased customer traffic.

STOCK AND STAFF

Keeping up with demand is essential in optimising profit and boosting customer satisfaction during a holiday rush. If you have sales records from previous years, it’s a good idea to make sure you have the right amount of inventory to fulfill the previous years sales, plus extra. You should be able to look at the statistics, forecast what your potential sales should be, and ensure you have enough stock to meet the demand.

Adequate staffing is also vital during these periods. One thing that is sure to turn off potential customers is a long wait-time at the register or change rooms. Make sure you have enough staff to process transactions, as well as assist customers on the sales floor and in the fitting rooms.

PROMOTIONS AND OFFERINGS

Although holiday shoppers are already shopping to buy, they’re also going to be looking for ways to save money during what is an inevitably expensive time of year. Think about ways to attract new customers, and upsell existing customers, with special promotions.

Gift Guides can be a great way to encourage shoppers to buy-in-bulk at your store. A gift guide available in store or online can put together gift ideas for certain family members or friends. For example, T-shirts packaged with sunglasses and a hat might be a great gift-idea for fathers. By advertising that these are instock and available as a package will encourage new shoppers to explore your options and visit your store.

Complimentary gift wrapping for occasions like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is another way to boost the offerings of your store. This encourages people to shop at your store and have everything gift wrapped all at once, which can be a massive time-saver come the big day!

HOST AN EVENT

Hosting an event can be a great way to get to know your customers and offer them a well-deserved “break” from their shopping and holiday planning. For example, if you own a kitchenwares store, you might decide to host a free cooking class in the weeks leading up to Christmas or Easter – this can not only afford attendees great menu ideas for a lunch with family or friends, but also present the opportunity to try products before purchasing (it’s a good idea to make sure all utensils used are available for sale after class). You can run the event yourself or, if you’re not confident to do so, hire someone specially for the event.

GIFT CARDS ARE A MUST

Gift cards are an excellent idea for your shoppers. They can work in a number of ways, too. Some people may purchase a gift card to give as a gift to a friend or family member. Not only have you gained a sale from this person, you have also gained a new customer in the person who receives the gift card. If you don’t usually have gift cards available, a looming holiday or special occasion may be a great opportunity to launch the initiative and attract new customers into your store.

MONITOR STOCK LEVELS

If the worst happens and a customer is after something that you’ve run out of, it’s important to keep on top of timeframes for stock updates. If you have completely run out of stock, knowing exactly when you’re anticipating new stock to arrive is going to help immensely. It will also be a great opportunity to take payment (or part payment), as well as the customer’s details, so you can contact them as soon as the stock is back in store. This will save the customer the headache of trying to find the product elsewhere, and also help cement the sale within your store.

Monitoring stock levels is essential during busy periods, as ordering more stock as soon as levels start to get too low can help prevent instances of people waiting for stock. It’s also a good idea to ensure you don’t hold stock for too many people, as customers will be even more disappointed if you’ve already pre-sold all of your stock before it arrives.

PROTECT YOUR STORE AGAINST THEFT

It’s imperative to stay on top of security measures during the busy holiday periods. Don’t be distracted by the amount of customers in your store and, if things get too hectic, look to installing CCTV equipment for some extra eyes and as a form of deterrent. Avoid cheap do-it-yourself systems and have the cameras professionally installed to ensure they’re functioning correctly. Make sure appropriate signage is displayed to inform any would-be criminals that they will be caught if they try and steal from you. As well as this, training your staff to identify and manage potential thievery will go a long way in protecting your store. Consider running theft-prevention training programs regularly throughout the year to keep your staff up-to-date and alert.