9 Actions Retailers Can (& Should!) Take Now for Successful Winter Holiday Sales
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9 Actions Retailers Can (& Should!) Take Now for Successful Winter Holiday Sales

9 Actions Retailers Can (& Should!) Take Now for Successful Winter Holiday Sales

Now that summer is over it’s time for retail brands to start planning for a successful holiday season.

Retailers should be thinking about what they will do differently for the upcoming holidays. The good news is that Covid is on the wane in the U.S. (or was.) But with labor shortages and supply chain issues still affecting us for the foreseeable future, you can’t just hope you’ll have a better holiday season.

Despite the National Retail Federation predicting a 10% to 13% jump in sales for 2021, the media will still broadcast how expectations are soft for retail sales this holiday shopping season. To get your piece of the retail renaissance, take action now. To help you make that happen, here are my top 9 actions to take for a successful holiday season.

1) Clean out your stockroom. A few years ago, the FDA admitted that they found smallpox vials from the 1950s in a walk-in cooler no one had regularly looked at. Old merchandise in your back room is just as deadly. Take a helper and remove every box, open it, sort it, and throw out the junk. Put anything even possibly salvageable on sale before Labor Day.

2) Clean out your store. I’m talking about down to the fixtures. Remove every box, bag, or tag. Sweep or mop every floor surface. Get your carpets cleaned. The goal is to look as new as possible.

3) Repair, repaint, and relight. Once everything is clean, notice the chipped paint, the broken furniture, the yellowed signage – and fix them. Have someone take a razor blade to your glass surfaces and get rid of all those tape residues from mask and health fliers. Customers notice your leftovers each time they visit; now so must you.

4) Open up your floor. Include more space for customers to move in, and more space around items so they stand out. Use smaller round tables nested around each other to create dramatic display areas for high-profit items throughout your store.

5) Be merciless with markdowns. Before you put your merchandise back on the shelf, consult your sales reports. Each product should have to justify its existence heading into the fall. If it doesn’t make the grade, add it to your Labor Day sale pile.

6) Organize your products into lands. If you can, move your store around completely so established customers will notice things they surely missed before. Consider new signage that makes those lands obvious.

7) Review every one of your employees. F C-level executives to warehouse workers, set expectations, tell them your plans to get their buy-in, and collaborate with them to make this holiday season your best.

8) Create a timetable for adding part-timers. Hiring around Halloween won’t cut it. Consider that this is your most important season and allow sufficient time for training. Start hiring in mid-September.

9) Create a 12-week plan of emails that finish December 31. You won’t have time to come up with these during the rush of the oncoming holiday season, so this is often forgotten until too late. Don’t get overwhelmed. You already know the main times: after Thanksgiving, the week before Christmas, and the day after Christmas. If you want to really be prepared, create those emails on Facebook and schedule them now and you’ll have one less thing to think about when things get busy.

Holiday wrap-up

Having a prosperous holiday season takes planning and time. When you have an abundance of time (like now!), use it to put your plan in action.

Bob Phibbs, "The Retail Doctor," is a 30-plus year retail expert with a proven track record to help brands lift sales, turn their retail staff into real salespeople, and get more out of their store traffic with innovative retail marketing tactics. Contact him at 562-260-2266, or visit his website.

Published: September 7th, 2021

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