Last year, early 200 million Americans shopped during the Thanksgiving Day weekend and that included Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It is not too early to prepare and, if you haven’t already, you may be behind. Starting now means finishing up your year in as strong a position as possible. Preparing now to take advantage of the huge shopping season that lies in wait just around the corner means that your business can emerge as an even stronger entity as it enters the new year.
- Waiting until the proverbial last minute generally spells disaster regardless of the endeavor. Getting out ahead of the shopping season means having everything in place, especially your operating systems, so that the stress level is lessened and you and your people are flexible enough to adapt to any situation that comes in. Now is the time to take on that extra help and to train everyone so that the season goes as smoothly as possible. Also, if you feel ready for anything, you will be much more relaxed which means you will be a happier and more inspiring boss. Less stress all around.
- Know what you will sell, where you will promote it and what kind of content to drive traffic you will need. Will there be discounts? Will you be relying heavily on your social media platforms? Is your email campaign ready to go? Have you prepared your retail decorations and the staging of your products?
- Customer engagement is critical to your success. Start engaging them now. Frustrated shoppers are the doom of any business so make certain you are out ahead of them. Make sure you are an option in their mind right now. Give them special discounts and incentives right now for the upcoming shopping season. Give them a reason to buy from you right now.
- While you are engaging with your customers, be asking questions. What sort of questions? Well, what if your best people are sick? What if a product is unavailable or you sell out of it? What if equipment breaks down? Go over the various scenarios with your people and be certain they are ready for anything. Finally, in that vein, make sure your electronics and software systems are running smoothly. Test them and then re-test them. You can’t be having software, or even hardware, disasters come the holiday shopping season.
-Written by Kevin Sawyer