29/10/2014 - 05:02

Make it a December to remember

29/10/2014 - 05:02


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The year’s most important retail period is almost upon us, so is your business ready to make the most of the opportunity?

Make it a December to remember
BE PREPARED: Retail operators should be well into planning strategies for the Christmas shopping period.

For small businesses, particularly in retailing and related sectors, the months before Christmas are crunch time.

From a retailing perspective you need to act now if your business is to maximise the profit potential of this important season. The next few months can often be the make or break in terms of your annual profit. Preparations you make now will be key to a successful year ahead.

Consumer spending will no doubt rise and competition will follow suit, both online and in stores and shopping centres.

So how can you make sure your business is in the best possible shape to come out fighting for its fair share of the Christmas pie?

• Get started

It's vital to take action early to maximise the benefits of this holiday season. Start thinking about the strategies you can employ to ensure your business is ready. Take time out from your business to work out the steps needed and make an action plan. Don't put the action plan in a drawer – show your staff, delegate and make sure it is put into practice.

Include timeframes and allocate responsibilities to key staff members – get started.

• Staffing

For most retailers, the Christmas period is a busy one; you will need more hands to do the work.

Look back on previous years for clues as to the levels of extra staffing you may need, as this will help you to predict the short term, help to recruit and ensure you are not over staffed.

Consider having some casual staff on stand-by if possible and above all try to ensure you don't leave customers frustrated. Think about how you will recruit the extra staff needed and start that process now – approach agencies or place adverts, be prepared.

• Prepare for shipping

If you post items, you need to set up your shipping arrangements now. Australia Post can become very clogged at this time of year so consider using a courier service instead. Clearly communicate realistic shipping dates to your customers and ensure that packages are sent out promptly (this may require extra staff). Buy in the packing materials you will need in advance so that everything runs smoothly.

• Make your premises sing

Competition at this time of year is fierce and your business needs to stand out from the crowd. Think outside the box here; make sure all your displays are in tip-top shape and capture attention.

If this is not your strong point, consider hiring a professional window stylist or find a member of staff with a flair for design. Consider extras such as musicians or entertainers on weekends to draw a crowd – above all, stand out.

• Online and social media

Your bricks-and-mortar site is not your only market presence these days. Neglect your online and social media presence at your peril.

Update your website with festive offers and send out greetings and special incentives via Facebook or SMS. Again, this may require extra staffing, but you must engage today's consumer both digitally and personally if you want to be ahead of the game.

•Rising stress

Don't forget that this time of year can also be very stressful for customers and staff alike. Family pressures, work pressures and day-to-day life can compound at this time of year, and owners and managers need to be aware of this.

Ensure that rosters allow for breaks and that staff are not required to work unreasonable shifts.

So, as we approach the festive season ensure you are prepared, organised and ready for what could be your bumper profit period.

Take action now and reap the rewards at your leisure.


Paul Rowe

Managing director

The Business Squad



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