Is it too early to say Ho, Ho, Ho? I HOpe not!
Yes, even though it’s only mid-October, if you own a retail business it is time to get ready for the holiday season. Indeed, there are several parts of your business that likely need attention now if you are going to be successful the rest of the year.
Get your store ready: With the influx of people who will be coming into your space, you will want to spruc the place up – fresh paint, deep cleaning, making it shiny – you know the drill.
Beyond that, and probably more importantly, you want to think about how you can make your store a holiday destination. These days, the competition from online shopping is real and drop-in comparison shopping is a threat As such the savvy entrepreneur will make sure that the physical experience of coming into his or her shop is something that can’t be matched by pointing and clicking.
There are plenty of things you can do in this regard:
- et up a free gift-wrapping station for customers
- Serve hot cocoa and cookies
- Have Santa come to your store each week
Get your displays ready: The time is now to pull out the holiday decorations and displays to see what kind of shape they are in and what might need replacing.
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Get your supplies in order: Will you need extra packaging, gift wrap, boxes, supplies?
Get your online presence ready: There are two parts to this.
First, update your social media presence. Freshen up your Facebook page and add new content, videos, etc. And what about launching on a new platform like Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram?
Also, be sure to interact and engage with your social media tribe. For example, you can offer small gift cards or coupons to customers who post photos or otherwise share their positive shopping experience at your store.
Second, make sure your website is up to date. Your About page should be up to date, contact info and hours should be current, and content across the website should be fresh.
Get your staff ready: When thinking about holiday staff, there are two things to consider:
The first is your regular employees. It is a good practice to check in with them, see what their schedule constraints are, see when they may and not be available, and schedule around that to the extent possible.
Additionally, now is a good time to start looking for holiday help. Finding the right people, training them, scheduling them – it all takes time. Find people who are enthusiastic, communicative, friendly, and flexible.
Get your marketing ready: Now is the right time to noodle on some creative holiday marketing ideas, and even take a few out for a test drive. Maybe you are considering a special promotion, or new product, or new price point. Test now and see what works.
When it comes to marketing, it is also a good idea during the holidays to do the expected – have a sale, reward special customers, create events, and so on.
And finally, make sure that you build in some time off for yourself. After all, you’re the boss.
Don’t be a Grinch.
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success.© Steven D. Strauss
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