Part of working in the retail industry is understanding how the seasonal cycle works. The holiday season often brings the largest boost in sales for companies, so it’s an important one to prepare for.
Even though summer just passed, it’s time to start brainstorming ways to tackle the holidays ahead.
What to expect this holiday season
Retail TouchPoints compiled a 2014 Holiday Guide for retailers as the celebrations draw nearer, and it’s full of good news. Holiday spending is expected to increase by 3.5 percent, making this the fourth consecutive year of spending growth. Part of what drives retail holiday trends lately is a revised discount and deal plan, the source explained. Stores have begun launching holiday sales even before Black Friday and bringing prices down significantly in the days before key holidays to entice last-minute shoppers.
It’s no secret that brick-and-mortar stores face a lot of competition from online retailers. Even your own online presence could throw off your projections for holiday sales. The way to combat this disconnect is through omnichannel communication that offers the customer a little something extra. The difference between e-shopping and browsing a physical store is the overall experience, from the sales staff to the store displays. See if your budget has room for a computer, a few tablets or employee smartphones to boost the visibility of technology in the shop as you try to circulate patrons between in-person and online purchases.
How to prepare in the fall
The holiday season can be tricky for retailers in regard to staffing. Often the seasonal boom in business means stores have to hire additional employees for a few months. While it’s immensely helpful to have extra hands on deck, there’s also a learning curve that managers and associates alike need to adjust to.
Because there’s so much information about products and services available online, assume your customers are well-studied on what you’re selling. They may have already compared prices, models and features before they even step foot in the shop. As a result, your employees need to be equally, if not more, knowledgeable.
It’s common for stores to add gift wrapping service to their operations during the holiday season. Consider if you’ll offer complimentary gift wrapping with each purchase or charge a small fee. You can also combine both tactics and create a price point that earns customers free wrapping.
In addition to stocking up on Holiday Gift Wrap Kits, you should also schedule an employee training session. Gift wrapping might seem like an intuitive task, but it’s important that staff learn the correct and tidiest method, especially if customers are paying for the service.