The big box and department stores may live for Black Friday, but for most independent retailers, it's the last few weeks before Christmas when sales volumes really crank up.
How do you make the most of these last two weeks?
Stack It High and Watch It Fly.
Some merchants swear by this – Put out big mounds of merchandise to give the feeling of abundance and generosity that appears with Christmas. When customers see the quantity of goods they get the subtle social signal that "if lots of people are buying this, it must be a good gift".
Sort Your Stocking Stuffers and Mark The Display
This is the time when many gift givers start shopping to "fill the stockings". Make it easy for your customers to find them. Pull together a big section of stuffers.Group them by price point or type of recipient – "Stuffers under $10 or Stuffers for toddlers or for the sports fan. Gear the grouping according to the type of merchandise you carry. And most importantly, use good signage. You'll probably never know what taking a little stress off the shoppers will pay you back.
Pre-wrap for those last minute shoppers.
Pre-wrap some of your best sellers. Wrapped gifts makes it easier for those "I never shop until Christmas Eve" types.
Plan For Mid-Day Restocking.
At least on your busiest days, assign a clerk to check and restock items that are selling fast. Nothing is more depressing than going into the store and seeing half empty shelves.
Manage Your Markdowns.
Take a look at your overall inventory levels and your slow moving items. Mark down excess stock NOW that you don't want to see after the holidays. It's much easier to sell slow movers at 25% off in December than at 50% off in January.
AND MOST IMPORTANT – STAY HEALTHY
A healthy body will help you be mentally sharp. Drink lots of water. Take a trip to your favorite health food store for some immune system boosters. This is in addition to the flu shot you've already gotten. You did get a flu shot didn't you? Wash your hands often and put instant sanitizer at the checkout counters for customers and clerks. And get a good night's sleep.
Let me hear back from you after the holidays and let me know how these tips worked for you. And I'll start thinking about planning for your physical inventory count in January!