It’s that time of year again – typically the busiest time of year for anyone in retail. We’re still in November – but December isn’t far away and to make the final month of the year as smooth as possible for you and your employees, there are a few things you should think about already.
1. Have you planned the holiday rota?
Even if you normally don’t plan your rotas more than 2 weeks in advance – now is the time to change that. Both you and your employees want to enjoy their holidays, make sure you can all book trains, coaches, family parties or whatever well in advance.
2. Have you planned for changes in demand?
Unless this is your first year in business, you will probably have seen a change in traffic and or demand over Christmas. Did you sell a lot more hot drinks/scarves/gift hampers in December than earlier? Maybe you should up your stock. And perhaps you can order less of other things?
3. Are you sticking with your opening hours?
You might find that, due to demand, it makes sense to change your shop’s opening hours during the festive season. Make sure you advertise these clearly and early to avoid disappointing anyone. You may also want to have a look at your staff allocation – e.g. does it makes sense to have an extra person working Saturdays and have one person less for half of Monday and Tuesday? Take a look and adjust accordingly.
4. Are you prepared for illness or sudden absence?
This time of year people are prone to getting colds and bouts of flu – make sure you are ready to fill in; either yourself or seasonal temp staff. There is no point having someone sick come in and infecting their colleagues and your customers – so make sure you have back-up plan should someone call in sick. Being short handed is stressful for both staff and customers!
5. How about that festive spirit?
You may be more grinch than glitter-fairy, but festive offers and or decorations are generally expected – because they are everywhere. Someone out shopping for Christmas presents may be easily swayed – make a nice window display and make the atmosphere in your shop calm and inviting. Don’t overdo it – loud music, strong smells or overly hot air can put anyone off.
6. What about next year?
The holidays are a great time to attract new customers. How are you making sure they’re not just one-offs, but new regulars? To hang on to your newly acquired customers in the new year, how about signing them up to a loyalty program? There are plenty out there – have a look at our business page and see if ours might be right for you; www.loyalzoo.com/business.
Don’t panic if you haven’t done all of this – you know your business best and it might not all be relevant for you. But nevertheless it’s worth giving these things an extra thought to make sure you are prepared for any stressful situations.
Any questions? Let us know in the comments.