The holiday season is indeed the most wonderful time of the year, especially if you are a business owner in retail. It also tends to be the busiest time of year. With the anticipated influx of sales and new customers, it is absolutely essential that business owners plan and prepare in order to take full advantage of the busy season.
Below are a few things to consider to prepare you for the holiday season:
First and foremost, business owners must be completely stocked through year’s end, with increased holiday traffic in mind. Running out of a top-selling item is frustrating for business owners, staff, and customers alike, especially if the item sells out rapidly. Any holiday promotions or packages and whatever items are anticipated to be top sellers should be sufficiently stocked to avoid frustration and lost business.
Another incredibly frustrating scenario is being swamped, understaffed, and unable to manage the flow of business; or having to deal with a business who is understaffed, if you are the customer. Business owners ought to ensure that they have sufficient personnel to manage the increase in sales, and accompanying issues, such as shipping, returns, backorders, warranties, and incentivized program enrollment. This goes for staff at a brick and mortar location as well as having a fully-staffed contact center able to handle holiday call overflow. If additional seasonal staff must be hired, be sure to do so a few weeks before busy season to allow for enough time to properly train and orient new employees.
In a similar vein, whether you are working with permanent staff or temporary employees hired just for the holidays, making sure your staff is fully informed on company and holiday policies is a must. When working with a contact center, either in-house or outsourced, be sure that all managers have properly trained their agents to be proficient in policies such as shipping costs and dates, return policies for specialty items, and any and all holiday promotions or special discounts. Not only will an informed staff work more effectively for your customers, but they will also be informed enough to easily offer upsells. The same goes for in-store staff, of course. Your customers will thank you for not making them wait while a manager is found to consult on something that should be common knowledge among all staff.
Offer Seasonal Deals
Because this is the busiest time of the year, and your customers will take care of you through their increased purchases, be sure to take care of them. Consider offering holiday promotions, discounts, package deals or specialty items at lower rates. Or offer free gift wrap, a free holiday card, or even a free cup of cocoa at your store.
Limited-time sales boost traffic, whether foot traffic or traffic to your website. Have a sale lasting a few hours at a time offering free treats to all customers that come in, or a small free gift to anyone purchasing online during that time. Even small steps to show your customers you care go a long way to boost customer loyalty, satisfaction, and of course, holiday cheer.
Your preparations to handle the busy season will make this holiday magical for your customers, who in turn will generate magical revenue for you.
Happy Holidays From ROI!
Photo by Baker County Tourism / CC By