Do you own a retail business? Are you wondering how you can prepare for the holidays? Here are some tips to follow so that everything runs smoothly:
- Prepare training materials: From Thanksgiving to New Year's Day is a busy period for retail businesses. You will may have to hire extra temporary employees to keep up with the rush. However, because it's so busy, it can be difficult to adequately train these employees. You may prefer to do one-on-one training during the rest of the year, but this can be difficult to continue when all employees are busy serving customers. Beginning in October and November, start compiling everything that a new employee should learn. This includes procedures on things like how to run the registers, who to call to process a return and what to do about unhappy customers. Once you have everything compiled and organized, print multiple copies and put them into binders for your employees to reference later.
- Order extra packaging: Does your business ship out packages to customers? Or maybe you offer gift wrapping services for in-store customers? Once you've estimated approximately how much extra packaging you might go through for the Christmas season, order an additional ten to twenty percent. This also includes shopping bags for regular customers. While the cost might seem somewhat excessive at first glance, think of it as an investment. If you have insufficient packaging to meet all your needs, you will have to wait for a new shipment of packaging to arrive. During this waiting period, you may end up with frustrated customers and lost business. Having enough packaging ensures that you will be able to serve all your customers quickly and promptly.
- Put up decorations: Even a relatively small amount of decorations can help put people in a festive buying mood. Strings of garland, shatter-resistant "glass" baubles and quiet Christmas music will all help with the atmosphere.
- Encourage festive dress: You may want to relax your usual dress code a little and encourage your employees to dress up to further enhance the spirit of Christmas. Allow them to wear Santa hats, their favorite Christmas t-shirt or even dress in a full elf costume, perhaps awarding an extra bonus to the employee who shows the most "Christmas spirit." Rewarding your employees and making things fun for everyone is a good way to reduce stress all around, which has the potential to enhance customer service and increase customer retention.