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How merchants can learn from 2012

How merchants can learn from 2012

A New Year isn't just a time to look forward, it's also an opportunity to reflect on the year gone by. For retailers, this means examining your sales over the course of 2012 and trying to learn from your mistakes, triumphs and experiments. As you go through this process, keep the following tips in mind.

Take a look at the books
One of the best ways to get a hold on how your past year went is to look at your books. If you electronically automate your bookkeeping, this should be easy. Examine which days, weeks and months were your most successful, and try to recall what promotions you were holding or what was happening in your store at that time. Do the same for the days of your weakest sales – was it weather that affected your poor showing, or something that you were doing as a retailer that could be improved in 2013?

A group meeting with employees
Your employees are essentially on the "front line" of your day-to-day dealings, which makes them an invaluable source for looking back at the year. It may be best to hold a group staff meeting so that everyone can reflect on the past and set goals for the future together. During this session, ask your workers to recall their personal "highs and lows" of 2012. Take notes – you'll want to compare their opinions when you're planning for next year.

Tapping your customer base
In addition to your staff, your customers can provide feedback on how your year went. Use social media to ask your customers what store promotions they liked most. Maybe a particular display case or wall rack caught their eye and influenced them to buy, or perhaps they made out especially well following a sale at your store. Use this information to come up with ideas for the New Year.