We all know that starting in November, time seems to speed up until all of a sudden, you’re ringing in the new year. And as a business owner (especially if you’re in retail), this time of year is particularly frenetic. To make things less “I might go mad” and more “I got this,” it’s mission-critical to head into early November with a plan of action — or at least with things as buttoned up as possible.
Here’s a Christmas-readiness checklist:
Get the right product mix
You’re not going to sell much if you’re not selling the right things. So make sure you’ve thought through your seasonal product mix. Sure, you can go on intuition and market research (social media is a great place to spot trending items) to predict which items might sell well. But for hard data points related to your specific business, look to Square Analytics. Your Dashboard has robust data that will tell you which items — or category of items — were particularly popular last year. (Maybe your succulents, for example, were hotter festive gifts than your candles). Then use these insights to make informed purchasing decisions.
Get a chip card and contactless payments POS
Get with the times and get a chip card reader. Square Reader is just £16 + VAT and also accepts mobile payments like Apple Pay (which are the most secure and convenient way to pay). And it’s incredibly easy to set up, so you don’t have to worry about skipping a beat as you head into the festive season.
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Get control of your inventory management
“Out of stock” means a lost sale. So making sure you have the right amount of items stocked is paramount. Retail inventory management is crucial and Square Analytics is once again your go-to here — it shows you exactly how many of a certain item you sold last year, and on which days those sales spiked. Use that information to purchase inventory accordingly.
But even if you plan your inventory levels strategically, managing it all can be challenging, particularly if you’re an omnichannel business. Before the Christmas rush, implement a retail POS solution that allows you to sync your inventory across both your online store and your brick-and-mortar store. (i.e., when you sell a product in your brick-and-mortar store, the inventory level in your online store automatically adjusts).
Set your staff schedules
The festive season is busy for everyone, including your staff. So if you haven’t already, dedicate this week to nailing down your Christmas shift schedules. Streamlining all of this — especially during this crazy time — is a lot easier if you have an employee scheduling system or app. It helps you manage everything remotely and makes checking shifts easier for both you and your staff. Square App Marketplace has a number of solutions you can sync to your Square account that take the hassle out of employee scheduling.
Hire seasonal help
If a bunch of your staff will be absent over the Christmas period, it’s likely you need some extra hands on deck. (Last year’s data can help you figure out which days were particularly busy.) In that case, it’s time to start your search for seasonal help. But before you do, make sure you check out How to Prepare your Seasonal Staffing Strategy.
Lock down your marketing plan
Even if you don’t have big bucks (or the time) to spend on marketing this Christmas, you should still do something to get your business on the shopping radar. Strategic email marketing and social media campaigns are a great way to create some business buzz on a shoestring budget. Square’s Email Marketing Service is a particularly effective marketing avenue. The tool automatically segments your email list by your loyal, casual, or lapsed customers, which means you can laser-target your messaging.
Regardless of what you decide to do in terms of marketing, you need to get organised. That means plotting out which days to launch your campaigns, and deciding how to nurture them throughout the season. Now is also the time to gather any assets you need (like Christmas-themed or product images) and begin crafting your messaging (for both email and social media).
Completing this checklist will help make sure that it’s actually “the most wonderful time of the year” for your business.