This Episode:​ Holiday Success Checklist For Store Owners

Preparation is the key to success. In this episode of Real Retail TV, I dive into a handy checklist that will ensure you’re ready for the months ahead. Don’t forget to prepare your staff, merchandise, and marketing efforts for the festive rush!

There’s one small detail that often slips through the cracks – your listings! With an influx of new customers during the holiday season, it’s crucial to provide accurate information like your holiday hours, address, email, phone number, and more. That’s why we’re thrilled to invite you to a FREE webinar on November 8th at 1:00 PM Eastern, featuring Susan and our friend Crystal Vilkaitis from Crystal Media.

Together, Crystal & Susan will guide you through the process of easily ensuring your listings are correct across all channels. RSVP by clicking the button below and get ready to make this holiday season your most successful one yet.

Rather Read The Episode? Click Here.

So what I’m gonna talk about today is holiday intentionality Not everyone, but I know a lot of people just go into the holidays. Right? You might set your store, order your goods, and then away you go. And I I know from my own experience and from talking to thousands of retailers that you’ll be a lot better off if you go in with a certain intentionality that if you understand what you’re trying to do, and you focus on the most important things that your holiday season will run smoother.

You’re going to have a lot less stress. You and your team are gonna have a lot more fun, but most importantly, your customers are gonna get a better experience and you’re going to have better sales this holiday season. So this checklist that I’ve created is really broken into three parts. Your team, your merchandise, and your marketing.

So let’s just take a look. And you might wanna make notes here, take notes, and then drop these things into your calendar to make sure that you stay on track that you do indeed exhibit intentionality.

So first of all, let’s talk about your team.

So if you need holiday hires, now is the time to do that. So what I’m encouraging you to do is to really take a look at what kind of floor coverage you need in December.

Ask yourself how many people you need And if you need people, start to hire right now.

Having said that, when you think about the number of people you’re gonna need, I would encourage you to overhire.

You know, it’s just one of those facts of life right now that especially with part time people, there’s a tendency to quit on a dime or to quit you know, without any notice. So you really wanna build a really deep bench this holiday season. So make sure you have enough people to deal with, people quitting to deal with sickness We don’t know if there’s gonna be another surge of COVID, but make sure over hire is my word of advice on your checklist.

The second question to ask yourself are is, are they trained?

Because there’s nothing sadder than to have somebody come into your store for the first time during the holidays and they encounter a poorly trained, unmotivated bad employee, not giving the kind of experience that you want that first time customer to get. You know, one of the things to really recognize is that one of your big opportunities for the holidays is not just the sales that happen during the holidays but your opportunity to take that casual holiday shopper, you know, give them a great first to experience. Get them into your loyalty program and then turn them into regular shoppers a year round shoppers. And if you don’t train your people how to be great employees for you, They can’t be great employees. It’s just quite it’s just really that simple. So we’re not gonna get into training here right now, but they need to be trained three ways they need to be trained about the things that are unique to your store. You know, what is your history?

What are your policies?

How do you handle this? How do you handle that? You know, so there’s that store level training there’s product training. And finally last, but certainly not least, there is sales training.

You really wanna get your people understanding how to sell. Product cell training is what you sell. Sales training is how you sell it. If you don’t have the Retail Sales Academy yet, now might be the time to do it.

Get your people through that training that customer-focused retail-specific sales training, and you will pay for many years at the Retail Sales Academy in this year’s holiday season. So that’s really what we wanna do for the holidays. You wanna make sure you have enough people and you wanna make sure that they’re trained so that your customers gets the service that they deserve. The second part of this checklist, the second piece of this intentionality is your merchandise.

Your merchandise, you know, people are shopping during the holidays.

And if you’ve got a great merchandise mix, if your mix is strong. It’s gonna go a long ways towards having a great season.

So what I’m encouraging you to do and what we’re off to you right here is to take a look at what you sell and look at how if you are covered in categories and if you are covered in price points. So if you don’t quite know what I’m talking about right now, email me at bob.negen@whizbangtraining.com, and I’ll send you a copy of the merchandise matrix, and you’ll see exactly what your what I’m talking about here. Fill that out.

Make sure that you have all the price points covered in all of your major categories. It’s amazing how many people have big holes in their mix. You know, somebody comes in and says, hey, I want a gift, for a teenage boy that costs twenty dollars and you go I don’t have anything more than twenty dollars. So that is a, you know, just a really, really important part of making your mix, your holiday mix, helping you become more successful.

Order status, this is something that Susan taught us. My brother, Steve and I, at the Mackinaw Kite Company, if we were running out and we weren’t sure when an order was coming in. All we would do is hope and pray. Oh, I sure hope this comes in. We’re running low or we’re out. And then Susan came to work for us, and she had worked at department stores.

And so we hope that key orders came in, she ensured that key orders came in. So whenever and if she would place an order, she would ask, when is that going to be shipped? She put it on her calendar when it was supposed to arrive. If it didn’t arrive, She was on the phone. So she didn’t hope she made it happen. You cannot afford to be out of key items during the holidays. If you’re running out, get on the phone, market people, you know, bark your way up the food chain, but if you are a squeaky wheel, you will get results.

And finally, reordering, you know, just put it on your calendar. When I talk about intentionality, you know, if you’re running out of key items, reorder quickly. If you’re, carrying too much if things start being identified as dogs mark them down sooner rather than later. It’s a lot easier to sell something at twenty percent off during the holidays. Than fifty percent off after the holidays. But again, it goes back to this idea of intentionality.

Don’t just hope. Don’t just order a bunch of stuff and hope that it makes its way out of your door through the holiday season. B in tentional.

And finally, your marketing.

If you don’t have a marketing plan for the holidays, It doesn’t have to be detailed. It’s better if it’s detailed, but it doesn’t have to be detailed. Sit down with a You know, with with a legal pad and just sketch it out. What are you going to do?

What promotions are you going to have? Are you gonna do the twelve days of Christmas? Are you gonna do for emails? What are you gonna do for social media marketing?

Are you gonna do go live? Are you gonna bring the high school choir in? I don’t know what the answer is. But again, if you are intentional about your marketing, your marketing is going to be a lot more effective.

So you want to plan the promotions. You wanna schedule your emails. You just wanna go into the holiday season with a and then tensional plan of what you’re going to do. And then finally, the little things.

This is the time of the year to deal with the little things. Things like your online listings. Are your holiday store hours online? So if somebody googles your business, are they gonna find the correct store hours? Are they gonna find the correct information? If they go to your website, are they is the information going to be correct? You know, online listing is so incredibly important particularly around the holidays.

Google people are googling. They are searching for you and your store and the merchandise you carry or they’re searching. And if you and your store carry the merchandise they’re looking for, you want to show up, which leads me to something else that you really should do. And on November eight at one o’clock, there’s an absolutely free webinar with Crystal Vilkaitis from Crystal Media and it’s titled From Hidden Gem to Holiday Hotspot, Mastering Online Listings for Q4 Success.

Again, if you can get your store listed. If it can get to the top of the listings, you are going to drive a lot of traffic.

So I would encourage you to be there. I mean, I would strongly encourage you to be there. So that is, you know, again, let’s go back to the the theme here. The theme is to be intentional.

Now, the beginning of November, is the time. Maybe grab your calendar and a yellow legal pad or a white legal pad. Go to the coffee shop sit down. Think about your holiday season.

Think about the things that I talked about in this checklist. Make sure your behalf of your bases cover. And if you don’t get it, get on it right away. Because once the season starts, that’s all you’re dealing with.

So anything that needs to happen During the season needs to be thought of now.

So I hope that you find that helpful. If I forgot anything in this holiday success checklist, please put it down in the comments down below. I’ll find some place to sneak it in later. Okay? Alright, everybody. I’m Bob Negen, and yeah, we’ll talk next week.