4 tips to prepare for the upcoming holidays
Summer has flown by in a whirlwind of pool parties, backyard barbecues, and vacations. As kids and parents get ready to return to classrooms in the fall, the back-to-school shopping season is drawing to a close. For retailers, the end of summer is a pivotal shift from school supplies and essentials to the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season.
Though Thanksgiving, Hanukah and Christmas are months away, they’ll be here sooner than you’d think. So it’s the perfect time to look ahead and prepare for the upcoming holiday season with these tips:
1. Double- and Triple-Check Inventory Levels
Running out of holiday must-haves can quickly spell disaster for any retailer. To avoid this mishap, be sure to take inventory well before the holiday season. Use these pre-season inventory levels to stock up now, and calculate how soon you will be reordering so you can place recurring orders with your suppliers. Consider investing in an automated retail software to help you maintain an accurate inventory and place automatic shipments with suppliers. Many such POS software systems can streamline the inventory process, giving you one less thing to worry about in an already busy time of year.
Equally important to increasing your inventory is stocking up on the right items. Look at trends in your industry, study your competition, and examine your market to help you decide which products will fly off the shelves this season and which ones will only lead to dead stock.
Here’s a bonus tip, too: while you’re stocking up on inventory, be sure to double check your office supply levels for essentials like ink and toner, packaging, gift wrap, receipt paper, and more.
2. Adapt POS for Mobile Sales
Holiday shopping means more foot traffic in and out of your physical retail locations. The increased sales is a huge plus, but long waits at the point of sale can lead to impatient, unhappy customers. The solution? Having extra cashiers throughout your store is a surefire way to minimize wait times at your POS. Purchase a couple mobile scanners to pair with iPad POS software and “green” receipt technology so that your store associates can move the lines along as quickly as possible. Many POS software companies offer mobile POS, so the addition might not even be a major investment, and moving sales along more quickly will add up to higher revenue.
If your point of sale provider doesn’t offer mobile friendly POS with mobile EMV credit card processing, it would be worth considering the much larger investment of adding a few more full cash wrap to your store, to help decrease lines during your busiest time of the year.
3. Create Enticing Gift Card Displays
Nowadays, every retailer offers SVC, or stored value cards, both during the holidays and as year-round gift options. What will make a customer choose your gift card over another retailer’s? A prominent display can make all the difference in the world. When customers are checking out at your POS, have gift cards displayed nearby, or even have store associates upsell the SVCs at checkout. By the same token, make sure that your stores remain pleasant and organized despite the fast-paced holiday season; customers won’t be buying SVCs for their loved ones if they have a negative experience in your store.
4. Expand to the Online Marketplace
With the variety and ease of access of eCommerce marketplaces, it’s no wonder more and more holiday shoppers are turning to the internet to purchase gifts for friends and family. If possible, your retail business should have its own website where customers can purchase products directly, access store hours, and find your contact information. Many POS softwares can easily integrate with new or existing websites to automatically track sales and update your inventory, eliminating the need for manual tracking. In addition to your own company website, consider expanding into existing online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, which will expose your product to millions of customers worldwide.
By adding some new technologies to your store such as automated, ‘just in time’ inventory and mobile POS devices, optimizing your retail business to run through the web, and upselling gift cards to your holiday shoppers, you’re bound to have a successful and lucrative holiday shopping season.