For small businesses, the holiday rush can bring on a new set of challenges. The rise in traffic can be daunting, and it is vital to have the preparation and security in place for the winter cheer. Luckily, this year’s holiday predictions look bright for small businesses! This checklist has you covered to make sure your small business maximizes sales this season.
First, here are the numbers:
Deloitte’s annual retail forecast predicted holiday retail sales to increase between 4% and 6% in 2022. According to Samba TV’s Holiday Report, 74% of adults are reported to spend the same or more amount on holiday gifts this year. Another study conducted by Coresight Research found that 55% of shoppers plan to spend an excess of $500 during the holiday season, a 7% increase from 2021. Local business statistics from 2020 indicate that 70% of consumers shopped at local businesses. Last year, half of the population was expected to participate in small business Saturday.
Checklist to prepare your small business for the holidays:
- Set your goals. Establish your sale goals for each season, including Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and holiday shopping. Review your current inventory levels to determine if you need to increase your products or offer the remaining inventory at a discount.
- Engage your existing customers and drive them to your store. Create special rewards and benefits for your existing customers to purchase and spread the word about your business.
- Secure extra capital. If feasible, secure a line of credit in case you need to purchase additional inventory.
- Establish your holiday hours and hire accordingly. Determine your store hours and decide if you need to bring on additional staff. Communicate your new hours to existing customers through social media, email, texts and physical signage.
- Secure your building, employees and products. Review your security systems including cameras, alarms and gates. Also, provide training for employees on how to spot a shoplifter, procedures for closing the store and a buddy system so no one leaves the store alone at night. Take advantage of neighborhood watch, the Detroit Greenlight program and inexpensive security systems.
- Train your employees. You should train all employees in upselling, customer service, exchange policies, returns and damaged goods. Prepare your employees and staff on features of your products, discount codes and rewards programs. You should also talk with employees about customer service and dealing with difficult customers and how to manage long lines at the checkout counters.
- Get your swag on. Make sure you have all your packaging, bags, signage (inside and outside) and employee/contractor uniforms tight. You want to leave an impression on customers, so professionally printed signage and bags with your logo are essential.
- Cleanliness is next to profitableness. Clean your shop, wash windows and remove clutter. Make sure the store isles are clear, remove all tripping hazards and extra boxes. Dust shelves and products and organize your goods.
- Check your technology and POS systems. Update your point-of-sale systems and ensure your registers/laptops/mobile phones are working with software updates and paper for printing receipts.
- Review your online presence. If you have an online store, optimize your website for mobile and tablet use. Also, if you are selling from your website and physical store, check the inventory and update available products in real time. Consistency is key for online and brick-and-mortar businesses. Branding should be consistent, as well as offers/discounts.
By: Angeline Lawrence, Director of Entrepreneurial Education; Mae Webb, Entrepreneurial Education Intern