How to Prepare for the 2022 Holiday Season

While the 2022 holiday season is set to be impacted by inflation, the lingering pandemic, and supply chain issues, Canadian shoppers still plan to spend the same on gifts as last year. In fact, 60% of those surveyed said they plan to look for more deals this year, according to the Retail Council of Canada.

Businesses need to be creative and prepared to stay ahead of the competition and make this holiday season count.

Here are nine things you can do to get your business ready for holiday sales.

1. Create a seamless shopping experience.

Inflation has left many consumers examining their shopping carts across competitors to save money wherever possible. Whether you sell online, in person, or a mix of both, omnichannel commerce has never been more important, especially considering that shoppers predict 37% of purchases will be online this year. Plus, 81% of shoppers say a combination of low prices and discounts will draw them to a store. So, keeping your pricing and relevant deals consistent — whether shoppers visit you in-store or online — helps customers decide easier and increases your likelihood of making a sale.

Similarly, omnichannel commerce also improves the customer experience by syncing inventory between an online store and a brick-and-mortar store, allowing customers to see their available options in real-time.

2. Bring on the discounts.

Sales, discounts, and other deals are easy ways to alleviate the pressure of rising costs for consumers — and potentially increase your bottom line.

With Square Dashboard, you can easily check metrics like the cost of goods sold to help you determine the right deals to offer.

Once you map out the right discounts, let your customers know so they can plan to indulge. Email or text message marketing is a great way to boost sales and keep your brand top of mind for busy consumers.

3. Make it convenient.

Convenience is still the name of the game this year as more and more shoppers look for ways to save gas, consolidate their errands, and cut back on shipping fees. With Square Online, you can set up fulfilment options like buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup so shoppers can tackle their shopping and other things on their to-do list all at once.

Get Started with Square for Retail

Sell intelligently with our new retail point of sale

4. Don’t skimp on the gift cards.

Gift cards are gifts that never go out of style — and give you options for driving revenue if you’re facing ill-timed shortages of your best-selling items. Customizing gift cards for your business with Square encourages customers to buy gifts for their friends and loved ones at a flexible price point without breaking the bank, while simultaneously reinforcing your brand. They’re also quick to grab online or in-person for those last-minute shoppers and convenient in the event of potential inventory issues.

5. Plan ahead to stay ahead.

Preparing for the upcoming holiday season doesn’t necessarily mean completely starting anew. Taking note of your bestselling items from last year using analytics from your Square Dashboard allows you to plan inventory appropriately to ensure you’re well stocked. The data can also help you determine what items to feature in your marketing and social media campaigns and what will perform better with potential deals.

Square Dashboard can also help you understand your rush periods to help you staff your store accordingly.

6. Reward loyalty.

Spending money tends to be a bit easier when it goes a little further. As customers look to cut costs, having them spend money that ultimately goes back to them in some way, shape, or form through a loyalty program is a great way to encourage spending. With the Square POS Loyalty add-on, new and old customers can enrol during checkout or online so they can get started no matter where or how they shop. Similarly, you can segment customers based on purchase behaviour with Square Dashboard to encourage frequent shoppers to make their spending work for them.

7. Make payments flexible.

Increased prices across the board are likely to make shoppers hold back on big-ticket items this year. You can make shopping easier for them by offering flexible payment options for their purchases. Buy now, pay later (BNPL) services like Afterpay make items with higher price points — or pricey shopping trips in general — more accessible to customers who are stretching their holiday dollars this season.

8. Maximize your staff.

As staffing shortages nationwide continue, it’s crucial to maximize your staff for the holiday rush. Portable POS solutions can help you maximize your staff and enhance the customer experience by meeting shoppers wherever they are in your store, leading to a quicker and more personalized checkout. You can make a sale, process payments, handle returns and exchanges, and even encourage customers to sign up for your loyalty program — all away from the counter.

9. Prioritize vendor management.

If your business relies heavily on vendors, you already know how important it is to manage the relationship. But as the holiday season approaches and supply chain issues continue, your vendor(s) may be managing several relationships, orders, and deadlines at once that can impact your business. Proactively engage with vendors through Square for Retail’s vendor management features to set and manage deadlines for on-time arrival this holiday season.