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Questions retailer should ask themselves in the holiday season
By Bira
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4 questions every retailer should ask this holiday season

Whether you’re still in the middle of your seasonal planning or you’re already putting the finishing touches on your preparations, we thought we’d offer some friendly reminders of the things you need to think about in the coming weeks.

Here are four all-important questions you should ask yourself when evaluating your holiday strategies. Go through the points, answer them truthfully, and then improve your game plan accordingly.

1. Is your shop prepared to handle the holiday rush?

Evaluate various components of your store and take the necessary steps to ensure that your business can handle the added demand this holiday season. Some of the things you should look at include:

Inventory​

Anticipating demand can be tricky. On one hand, it’s important to stock up on the right merchandise to avoid dealing with out-of-stock issues, but on the other, you don’t want to overestimate demand and get stuck with too much inventory. That’s why it’s important to look at your sales data and figure out which items you should stock up on. ​Look at your retail reports​ and revisit your sales from last year as well as in the last few months and use that data to forecast demand.

Do note that sales shouldn’t be the only factor to consider when calculating holiday demand. Additional variables, including the weather, consumer confidence, the political climate, consumer debt, and other economic indicators can affect the shopping behaviour of your customers, so take these things into account as well.

Workforce​

Can your existing employees handle the holiday rush, or will you need to hire additional help? If it’s the latter, start finalising your team schedules to ensure that there’s a healthy associate to shopper ratio in your shop.

Ecommerce​

See to it that your website can handle the surge of traffic that the holiday season will bring. Test various aspects of your online store, including load time and checkout speed, and try to get your numbers down as low as you possibly can.

2. What types of content, offers, and promos will you run?

We’re sure you already have some ideas to engage and entice holiday shoppers, but here are a few suggestions and reminders to help you spice things up:

Holiday gift guides

Create a holiday guide with your product recommendations. Take the opportunity to plug your own merchandise into the guide, but make sure you’re also adding real value by providing helpful ideas and advice.

Personalised products​

Let your customers add a personal touch to the products they buy from you. You can offer to engrave products or simply provide customisable labels.

Holiday countdowns​

Always a popular tactic during the holidays, launching a countdown gives you the chance to build anticipation for the offers or events that you’ll run during the Christmas season.

Charitable initiatives​

It is, after all, the season of giving. See if you can tie charitable efforts into your holiday campaigns.

Gift-wrapping services​

This is a great add-on or complementary service to offer in your stores. Shoppers are extremely busy this time of year, and they’ll appreciate having one less thing to worry about when shopping for presents.

3. How fast can you get orders to your customers?

Efficient order fulfillment is important all year round, but during the holidays, it becomes a make-or-break factor. Keep your fulfillment process tight, and find ways to get products into the hands of customers as quickly as possible (bonus points if you can lower costs).
Create a shipping guide that details when shoppers should order their products if they want to receive them by a specific date.
And if you’re running a brick-and-mortar store, do you have a game plan for how you’re going to fulfill customers’ needs if you don’t have the items at your location? Perhaps you can arrange pickups at other branches or have the items shipped to your customers once their items become available.

4. How can you get to know customers better this season?

Don’t forget about data and analytics during the holiday season. The next few weeks are sure to bring in more traffic to your store, which means that you’ll have additional opportunities to gather data on people’s shopping behaviour and trends. Having that information will enable you to get to know your customers even more, so you can craft better campaigns, tailor experiences, and improve customer service.

What steps do you take to prepare for the holidays?

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