10 Last Minute Tips for Preparing for the Holiday Selling Season

Just like customers, many retailers leave their holiday preparation to the last minute.  Therefore, with only a week to go before the holiday selling season begins in earnest, here are some last minute tips or ideas that can help you drive better results heading into Black Friday and beyond.

1. Invest a day or two this week in getting your office and paperwork in perfect condition.  Making a clean sweep will allow you to focus on the front-of-house, your customers and directing the activities of your sales representatives.

2. Just like you need to organize and clean sweep your office, you should do the same you’re your stockroom.  Get as much merchandise on the floor as possible and make sure what is left in the back is organized and easy to find!

3. If you have not done so already, start letting your customers know about your store hours, special offers and loyalty offers through in-store signage, newsletters, email, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or other social networking sites.  Don’t forget to plan on ways to contact them throughout the holiday season and make sure you are adding new customers to your list!

4. Write and post your work schedules through the end of December. By now, most people know when their big holiday obligations are, and if they do not, they will be able to schedule around them because they know their schedule in advance.  When writing schedules remember that the first two weeks of December are not particularly busy, so do not over-schedule.  Instead, bank those hours for the few days before and after the Holiday when customers are most active.

5.  If you have not done so already, spend 30 minutes with each employee in a one-on-one meeting to review the schedule, their sales goals and key priorities for the season.  You may also want to use some of this time to role play or train them on key selling activities or products.

6. When writing your schedule and working one-on-one with your employees, it is also a great time to communicate your expectations and assignments around daily operational tasks and store maintenance.  Getting everyone involved in these tasks saves time and knowing assignments in advance saves on stress.

7.  Make sure you strategically place accessory, add-on and impulse products throughout the store.  Everyone has to purchase last minute gifts for friends, relatives and co-workers.  Consider setting up some “gifts under $10” and “gifts under $25” displays.  You could even pre-wrap some of these items for your customers to make it easy.

 8. Focus on the first 10 feet of your store.  Start by walking outside the store and make sure that it is inviting and sends a “this is the place to be” message!  Are your windows clean?  Does your sign work?  One inside the store is the first 10 feet or so uncluttered so that the customer can see the rest of the displays easily?  Are your focus displays signed so that they are easy to read?

 9. Have you considered how you are going to feed your people on the business days?  Many of our team members like to go out for lunch, but on Black Friday and the other busiest days what would normally be a 15 minute run to McDonalds becomes a 45 minute ordeal.  Keep your people in the store and boost morale by ordering a deli tray!

10. Get your shopping done!  If you haven’t done so already, take a day off to complete your holiday shopping.  That way you can avoid the stress that your customers experience in performing last minute tasks and can instead spend your time focusing on serving their needs!

Do you want to learn more about how you can improve your retail store operations? Contact us for a free one-hour consultation and don’t forget to place us in your circle at Google+!

-          David Goodwin is the Principal of the Retail Advocacy Group.  As a 30 year veteran of the retail industry he has operated hundreds of retail locations and has hired, trained, and performance managed thousands of retail sales representatives and retail managers.  You can learn more about instructor-led, e-learning, and other training solutions for retailers at www.retailertrainingservices.com.