Halloween isn’t here yet and your customers are still sipping pumpkin spice lattes, but it’s time for retail businesses to start thinking about Black Friday and the holiday season. Whether you're a brick and mortar shop, an ecommerce store or an omni-channel business, the holiday rush is coming and it’s time to prepare your business for success.
Here are our 8 tips for getting your retail business ready for the holidays:
1. Review Your Inventory
Whether you have a brick and mortar store or you are strictly an e-commerce business, it’s important to take stock of your inventory before Black Friday and the holiday season hit. You won’t want misinformation stalling online sales, and you’ll want to ensure you have enough of your most popular items to capitalize on the season.
2. Consider Your Current POS Setup
It’s particularly important during the busy retail holiday season to take as many payment options as possible. If you don’t already have a robust point-of-sales system in your shop, it’s time to consider improving your payment options.
Square’s POS allows stores to accept cash, credit cards, debit and gift cards from one easy terminal. Their system allows you to send email receipts (or you can purchase a receipt printer if your business requires one), and their analytics dashboard makes it easy to review your busiest days and most popular products. Your accountant is always available to help make sense of financial reports if you have any questions!
3. Ramp Up Your Marketing
Utilize your social media platforms to begin notifying your customers of upcoming sales. If you have an e-mail list, send out a newsletter blast personally inviting your customers to come by the store. Consider offering an additional incentive to your social media and e-mail customers to further encourage people to follow you. Think of creative ways to make a buzz within your community and encourage local media outlets to report on your business. Many blogs or newspapers will share “shop local” lists or profile small businesses, so jump on these opportunities early.
If your business has a charitable organization you favour or regularly work with, consider a partnership for the holiday season. Working together, you can attract customers to your business while also bringing awareness to a charity you feel passionately about, and offer customers a chance to give back during the holidays.
4. Clean Up Your Books
Before you roll into the busiest retail season, it’s important to review and reconcile your bookkeeping records. November and December can get pretty hairy for small retail businesses, and you won’t want to wake up months behind on your books come January.
5. Consider Your Current Staffing
Most retail businesses hire extra staff for the holidays. Rather than being caught training a last-minute hire, start thinking about hiring and training in advance. You’ll want your new employee(s) trained and ready to sell well before the rush hits.
6. Prepare Your In-Store Experience
Along with signage announcing sales, you’ll want to consider holiday window displays and incentives to come into the shop. Are you able to offer a free sample, or a small gift with purchase? Have you ordered enough gift boxes, shopping bags, shipping materials and receipt tape to get you through the season? Are you offering in-store wrapping? These small details help make the holiday rush more pleasant for your customers.
7. Leverage Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday
Beyond traditional holiday shopping, most Canadian retail outlets are now following America’s suit with Black Friday sales. As Black Friday has morphed into an all-weekend affair, consider capitalizing on other sales opportunities with Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday deals.
On top of offering discounts and sales for Black Friday and the holidays, consider offering a free shipping threshold (for example, free shipping for orders over $150). Many small businesses are hesitant to offer free shipping because it can be costly. However, Kissmetrics recently did a study showing how free shipping offers can actually increase order sizes.
8. Get Ready for Boxing Day
As soon as you feel like you’ve survived Black Friday, it’s time to do it all over again to prepare for Boxing Day!
As a small business owner, you’ll often feel like there’s simply not enough time in the day to have a handle on all of your business operations. At Enkel, we provide our retail clients with the bookkeeping and financial analytics they need to manage their business and grow. Check out our case study on Ladurée Canada for more information on the unique services that we provide to retailers, or contact us to learn how we can help your business!