Christmas is undoubtedly one of the busiest times of the year for retailers. Last year alone, Australians spent $47 billion between November 15 and December 25, 2015, up four per cent on 2014, according to figures by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Ray Morgan. Planning ahead is one of the best ways to ensure your business maximises this busy trading period. Our checklist will help you cover off the essentials.
Consider hiring seasonal staff
Will you need extra employees to help out through the Christmas trading period? Staffing should be an issue you aim to address a few months in advance. If your store will be open for extended trading hours – whether at your own volition or if the shopping centre or precinct you are located in asks it – it may be worthwhile hiring casual Christmas staff.
Speak to your team about their availability and identify how many shifts or hours you will need to cover. A Christmas casual can help ensure your team don’t feel tired or overstretched, can cover sick days, and the final busy days leading up to and after Christmas.
Up your stock levels
Sales opportunities may be missed if you’re light on stock in-store. Review and order more of your bestsellers to date, as well any classic and accessibly priced product that would work well as Christmas presents. You could also curate complementary products that would work well in Christmas gift packs at different price points.
Be clear on your Christmas returns policy
The gift giving nature of Christmas means that pre-Christmas sales can quickly become returns post-Christmas. As such, it’s important that you have an established returns policy in place, particularly if you are among the retailers that partake in the Boxing Day sales. For example, any products returned without a receipt or proof of purchase will be given an in-store credit at the sale price, not at full price, even if it was purchased before Christmas.
There are a few ways you can try to make the returns process a simple one for both your staff and customers. This includes having the details of your policy outlined on your store receipts, your website and in-store through clearly placed signage near your points of purchase. Staff having a clear understanding of the returns policy and outlining this to customers before closing a sale will also help.
Stock up on till change to ensure you have enough to cover the busy weekend trade periods and back-to-back public holidays that precede Christmas. While many customers pay by card, it helps to have enough cash on hand to give change to those wielding $100 notes.
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