Surviving the retail Christmas shopping season doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are our top 5 tips to help retailers get through it easily.
- Train your staff
Few investments pay greater dividends than retail sales training. Take time prior to the rush to train your staff on handling stressed customers, stock lookup, gift wrapping and other customer interaction skills. Remember that this can be a very stressful moment for many shoppers, and if they come into a professional, efficient environment they will remember the experience.
- Think about getting another lane
If you have long lineups, you may experience the worst thing in retail: the abandon. This is when a shopper has found an item, and had made the decision to purchase it in your store. But due to the long lineups, they abandon the line and leave the product in your store. An extra lane can also be used year round for receiving, reporting or other purposes.
- Plan for the worst
What happens if your computer crashes? What is your staff supposed to do if your pinpad stops working?While we wish nothing like this to ever happen, it does. Several years ago a Windows update was released that caused issues for many clients during the Christmas season. Have a plan for your store if things go wrong. Have manual receipts, calculators and the phone number for your payment processor handy. Train your staff on how not to panic.
- Watch your store
You work hard for your money. During this busy time, thieves will take advantage of distracted staff. Watch for suspicious behavior and train your staff on how to handle it. Also, watch for customers who are frustrated, or who seem to be nearing the point of abandonment. Review your security policies. Maybe you need a tag sensor at the door, or perhaps video surveillance.The best security device is a well trained staff that engages all customers, and that is active on the sales floor.
- Reflect when this is all over
When this busy time has ended, learn from it. Run reports, and see what items have made you the most money. Which items did you run out of? At what times was the store the busiest? Also, don’t forget to run some annual GMROI and turn calculations to see what products you should order again. We also recommend learning to isolate the aged inventory and calculate the freshness percentage of your stock.
If you have any questions regarding any of the above points, give us a call or contact us. We are always willing to have a chat. If you think we missed something that you have learned is valuable, let us know that too or comment below!
Shawn Dillon is the Chief Technical Officer at CRS. He has been involved in hundreds of retail installations and has worked in the IT industry for over 20 years, with independent companies as well as government agencies.