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The holidays are great, but they can be a little nuts. And while booming sales at your business are obviously a good thing, excessive stress is not. Luckily, there are some practical strategies you can employ now to give yourself some breathing room over the next few weeks. Here’s your game plan.
Take an analytical approach.
Let the real-time data generated by Square Analytics work to your advantage. Find out what sold well last year around this time, and make sure you have enough of that item in stock to avoid any inventory problems. Look at which days and hours were your busiest last December, and use that information to plan your holiday hours and staffing. Data can empower you to make decisions that help cut down on any last-minute scrambles.
Bring back the best of last year’s help.
It’s much easier and more efficient to hire people who already know the ropes than it is to start from scratch. Always keep notes about seasonal helpers, and let the good ones know you’ll keep them in mind for future holiday needs. Read more tips here on how to find qualified seasonal help who don’t take a ton of training.
Have customized gift cards ready to go.
During this busy time of year, it’s all about the low-hanging fruit. Having a steady supply of gift cards ready for shoppers is like striking gold. And using Square’s gift cards tool to brand the product for your business is fast and easy. Plus, your customers will love you for it.
Make holiday shopping easy for customers.
Outline a plan for holiday-themed sales and promotions that work best for your business. Group items together by price point. Put together special, limited-edition gift packages, and devote a section of your store or site for stocking stuffers. Thinking through this type of stuff ahead of time helps avoid “I should have done that but now I don’t have time” moments.
Plan marketing email and schedule social media posts.
Email marketing is a no-brainer around the holidays. But when you’re on holiday overdrive, spinning up a nice-looking marketing email from scratch may seem like too much. Turn to Square’s email marketing software, which has ready-to-whirl templates for the holiday season. Think about when you want to send your email for your sale, announcement, or event and to whom. In Square’s email marketing tool, you can segment your customer lists by regular, casual, or lapsed, so you can be sure your email makes the highest impact. You can also schedule holiday emails to go out on a specific date.
Social media is also a must-do over the holiday season. But to make things a little easier, write a bunch of posts and then schedule them in software like Hootsuite. That makes sure you have a steady stream of messaging going out without having to be glued to your computer all day.
Rein in your appointments schedule.
If you’re in the service industry, tap Square’s scheduling software to help you keep track of appointments. Clients can book services 24/7, and all scheduling syncs with your personal calendar so you can check availability, confirm appointments, and send text or email confirmations from anywhere. What’s more, Square’s appointment scheduling software has no-show protection, which is particularly helpful over the holiday season.
Before the holiday craze hits, make sure you’re as streamlined as possible. Turn on inventory alerts in your Square Dashboard to be notified when items are running low. Get set up with Square Invoices so you can send clients bills directly from your phone and check the status of all your invoices in your Dashboard. Making sure you have as many things on autopilot as possible gives you time back to focus on more important stuff.
The holidays are a lot — but with some careful planning, you can maximize sales and minimize stress. Hey, you may even be able to get out and do some holiday gift shopping of your own.