More Shopping Days Means More Opportunity – Are Retailers Ready?

Great news for retailers!  The calendar for 2012 is the most advantageous that we have had in years.  With Christmas day falling on a Tuesday there are two extra shopping weekends (one before Christmas and one between Christmas and New Year’s Day) and with Hanukkah falling early this year (Dec. 8 – 16) retailers have the opportunity for their best Holiday selling season in years. 

The key will be making sure that you are ready to take advantage of calendar by driving foot traffic into your stores and then closing sales when the customers arrive.  Here are some quick thoughts:

-          Recruiting and Hiring:  Often retailers really only need extra help for the weekend after Thanksgiving and the week before Christmas.  This year you will need people who can stay longer and have more flexibility in their schedules.

-          Ordering Merchandise:  The best retailers don’t try to have everything in stock at all times.  Instead they make sure they have the right products in the right depth that will allow them to suggestive sell and build their sales basket.  With only a few weeks to go, you need to pick your winners now and then merchandise them prominently in your business!

-          Marketing:  Have you embraced mobile and Internet marketing yet?  Studies have shown that customers who search the web are actually more likely to buy that day and that they still prefer to do so at retail!  Have you optimized your website for local search?  Have you trained your employees to sell aggressively to shoppers who use a smartphone in your store?  And don’t forget to reach out through Pinterest, Facebook, Google+ and other social networks as a way to build your customer base year-round!

-          Sales and Product Training: Is critical.  Do your team members know how to recognize buying signals?  Do they know what items they should be suggestive selling in order to increase the value of your average transaction?  And most of all, do they know how to engage customers in a way that makes them want to return after the holiday?

-          Advance Planning:  Make sure you write your work schedules in advance.  We recommend doing this for the entire Holiday selling period. As your team members what days or nights they need off and then schedule as needed while taking into account that you need extra coverage for the busiest days.  In fact, for many store, you will only really need heavy coverage for the days that are listed here.

-          Leadership:  Are you ready to lead the way from the floor?  After all, your most important assets are there – your customers, your employees and your inventory.  There is nothing more important than getting out front and showing your customers and your employees that customer service and selling is fun and profitable!

If you are looking for a great way to bone-up on your retail selling skills, visual imaging, or retail management skills, a great way is to log-in to our on-line training portal.  Our retail training courses are quick, easy to use, and cost effective and you can access them by clicking here.

Have a great Holiday selling season!