It’s the most wonderful – and important – time of the year! But in order to master the holiday season, retailers must plan and prepare accordingly. Successful holiday execution requires year-round focus, dedication, and strategic planning. Retailers need a strong understanding of what their customers want and how they can meet those expectations most effectively. With so much to do, it can be daunting to know where to start. The following tips can help you hit the ground running this season.
Assess Your Technology Needs
A technology mishap during this crucial time of year can be disastrous for retailers. This could involve the server your website is hosted on, the software you use for order management, or any other technology you rely on. To avoid this, talk with your IT department and make sure the technology is capable of handling the increased stress load.
Get Your Inventory Ready
The last thing you want to happen during the holiday season is to lose sales because you’re out of stock on a key item. Your profitability depends on careful inventory planning. Having the correct amount of stock at the start, middle, and end of the season requires careful assessment of last year’s holiday sales and trends for the current year. Well-managed inventory systems lead to more sales, fewer markdowns, and happier customers.
Retailers can reduce the amount of time spent tracking inventory by automating their system before the holiday rush. By using barcode scanners in your point of sale system and integrating it with inventory control software, retailers can better prevent items from going out of stock. The software can be used to create and monitor alerts when an item is getting low, so the item can be reordered before it runs out.
Train Seasonal Hires Thoroughly
Retailers hire an influx of seasonal employees for the holidays, and many times these temps are not adequately trained on how to use the devices and technology they are expected to use. One of the biggest mistakes you can make during the holiday season is failing to properly onboard your temporary workforce. Retailers can leverage mobile POS devices during the holidays to help speed up the checkout process – but it is imperative staff members are trained properly. Lack of training can lead to order and inventory backlog and employees who are in the way rather than maximizing efficiencies.
Today’s retailers will benefit from a complex and tech-driven landscape that prioritizes omnichannel engagement. In order to ensure the holidays are prosperous, it is imperative that retailers plan ahead and strategize how they can take advantage of new and existing technology systems to maximize efficiencies.
This article is part of our ongoing coverage of the 2017 holiday shopping season. For more information, connect with us on Facebook!