Prepare Your Store for Christmas 2020
December 2020 is a month where profit can be made and we hope, recuperated from the previous months that this year has thrown at local retailers. However, as always preparation is the key to success and reducing stress levels. Christmas any year brings about the challenges of managing large stock levels, extra staff and high customer expectations. A further sprinkle this year will be the Covid-19 restrictions within your store.
Here are 5 things to look at now, not later, not when it's too late.
Stock management and getting your levels right is a challenge in December; you don’t want to run out of good sellers but you don't want to be left with excess stock. Take a look at what sold well last year, but, also in the last 3 months. Covid-19 restrictions are changing customers' buying habits; other retailers are seeing an increase in baking ingredients and night-in treats as families spend more time together. Take a look at what has been working well for your store as more families stay at home as this is likely to continue in December.
Recruit Christmas Staff
Christmas is a busy time for local grocery retail and likely your current team will need extra support to cope with the increased volume. Start your hiring process now and give yourself adequate time to train new employees. If you struggle to find staff, try using your own or local community social media pages, you can even put some advertisement behind the post to help it get greater reach. Here is a fun idea from the Nutty Farmingdale, and some simpler ideas from other retailers. Don’t forget to include the #jobfairy; those looking for work search this # to find advertised roles.
Get Ready for Queues
Christmas will often lead to queues in stores in the month of December. However, with Covid-19 restrictions likely to still be heavily in place as we approach Christmas, you need to plan for queues and how you want to manage them. Queuing will likely be outside, so have a think on how to manage them and ensure your staff are equipped to deal with any unhappy customers. Should team breaks be on a set schedule based on the busiest periods in the store? Will there be a separate queue or time for elderly members of the community? if so it's the simple things like clear signage that avoid any other customers getting disgruntled. We came across this great article in Retail News about the cost of a queue to a business, it may be worth a read if you have time.
Build a communication channel with your customers
“Obviously customer loyalty has been vital during the Covid-19 crisis and regular communication is essential. If not yet started, retailers need to shape a digitalisation strategy for their company, aiming to increase customer experience using digital technologies.” The Irish Times
Covid-19 has without a doubt increased the need for clear communication between local businesses and their customers. Not only for the sake of organisation, but also to help maintain brand loyalty and a connection at a time when many people in our communities have struggled.
Social media is a free and easy form of communication with your customers, you may have a Facebook page sitting idol, but this is mostly certainly the time to dust it off. A recent study by LM Benchmark showed that 88% of consumers who do a local search on their smartphone visit or call a store within a day. ‘Small and authentic will win over big and generic everytime’ studies show that consumers want local content. Focusing on your stores' individual online profiles and audiences will allow you to deliver more targeted messaging that grows awareness and meaningful connections to drive sales. Do you struggle to generate value from your social media channels? Well, we can help, it’s what we do and it’s what we specialise in, local retailers in local communities looking to build up brand awareness in their communities.
Communicate Your Christmas Opening Hours Early
We know, we really do, we have chased hundreds of clients each November for their Christmas opening hours but the truth is, the sooner you get them out to your customers the better. A sign in the store is the obvious solution but also we recommend posting them on social media throughout the month of December to keep it fresh in your customers mind.
We help stores connect with their customers online, to boost sales, to communicate important information and to build brand awareness to keep sales moving. We believe in the power of our easy-to-use platform SocioConnect to help business owners control their online marketing and to save them time so they concentrate on other things. If you think you need help to get more value from your social media, contact us today here.