The past several weeks have been filled with early mornings, late nights, and long days. The holiday season has taken its toll, and January is fast approaching. Is your business ready for what comes next?
Here are a few things you and your business can do to prepare for the post-holiday season.
Be ready for returns. Review your store’s floor plan and create a space specifically designated for returns (if you don’t already have one). Organize this space to include a register for ringing the returns as well as all materials needed to complete any merchandise processing or reticketing. Completing this process immediately will eliminate any lost sales due to unproductive inventory sitting in the stockroom. The return process is also a great opportunity to wow your customer and turn their return into a sale. If your customer is only interested in a refund, be sure to communicate your return policy in a simple and transparent way. Have options for taking care of your loyal customers.
Follow up with your customers. Say thank-you to your customers and celebrate them for their loyal business over the last few months. Offer a customer appreciation event with exclusive deals to your most valued customers. Use your customer loyalty program to acknowledge your best customers and invite them back to save even more. This is also a great opportunity to improve your online reviews by reminding customers to share positive experiences online. Make it easy on them by providing a link to the social media tool your business uses.
Keep the excitement going. By the time January comes around, people are getting tired of seeing the same old holiday decorations and merchandise. Consider completing an overall store refresh, including new decorations and an updated product assortment. This is also a great time of the year to introduce a new product or service. If your business sells gift cards, be prepared for the redemption traffic. Have a plan for what products you want to highlight, and put them front and center. Work to fight off the post-holiday blues by having a contest or event.
Be prepared for what January can bring. Maybe you have sold out of all your most popular items or maybe you bought too much and have excess stock levels—either way, you need to have a plan. Create a merchandising strategy that fits your current inventory situation. Sell what you have in stock.
Take advantage of downtime. At some point after the holidays, business will slow. Be prepared to take advantage of this downtime. With low stock levels, this is a great time to complete your annual physical inventory or reorganize your stockroom. Being less busy also allows you time to complete a business self-assessment. Take note of what worked well and what didn’t to prepare yourself for next year.
In just a few weeks, the holiday season will be over, and a new year will begin. Stores filled with shoppers will give way to lighter foot traffic. January is often dreaded as a slow business month, but it should be viewed as a time of opportunity. If you prepare your business and create a plan, even January can be a productive month.