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Guest Commentary: Making Your Holiday Rush List and Checking It Twice


Luis Orbegoso, ADT Business

A recent survey by the National Retail Federation found that 20 to 40 % of small and mid-sized retailers’ annual sales occur within the last two months of the year. So what does this mean for small- and medium-sized business owners? It can mean hordes of customers coming through the door, inventory flying off the shelves, and the overwhelming need to be more prepared than any other time of year.

To help survive and succeed during the holiday season, here’s a simple checklist that can easily become your go-to recipe for success.

1. Staff Up

With increased foot traffic and longer hours, you’ll need to revise your staffing allocations to account for seasonal changes. Depending on your current staffing plan, you may be able to simply increase the number of hours each of your employees are working. Be sure to talk with them first to determine if they have the time and if they are interested in more hours. If your staff is already maxed out, pulling in a few temporary employees for the season is an easy solve. Remember to screen temporary employees the same way you would regular full- or part-time employees. After all, they will be representing your business at one of the busiest times of year.

2. Train

Customer service and support is incredibly important this time of year – from questions about your products and services to returns, customers are eager for speedy and accurate answers to a myriad of questions. Make sure your staff, especially temporary employees, are well-versed in store policies and knowledgeable about everything in your store. Consider creating an A-Z manual about your business that employees can reference if they get stumped by a customer’s question.

3. Secure the Store

With more customers walking in your door, an increase of temporary employees and so much invested in supplemental inventory, monitored security is of the utmost importance. Monitored intrusion detection and other security measures will ensure your inventory and cash flow are protected from possible threats including break-ins, shoplifters, sweethearting, and more. With a 24/7 monitored security solution from a company like ADT, you can rest assured that if anything does happen while you’re not there that the authorities will be dispatched directly. This is especially important if you have plans to be away from your business during the holidays.

4. Evaluate

Utilize the existing technology in your store to help optimize your layout of merchandise. Check video surveillance footage of the past few weeks to determine any hot patterns throughout the store. Where do people go first? Where do they spend the most time? Are there any areas of your store people really don’t go to? Rearrange the store so the flow is easy and your ”hottest” items for the season are showcased in a prime location. Something as simple as moving a free-standing shelf or swapping two products can make a big difference in sell-through and profits.

5. Promote

Holiday promotions are always a great way to bring more people into your store and give sales a boost. Advertise all of your promotions through on-site signage, your website, e-mails and social media platforms. Social media is a powerful tool, in fact a survey by Twitter found that 64 percent of respondents purchased a product because of something they saw on the social platform. Make sure your online presence is up to date and explore sponsored posts on social channels.

Being proactive about optimizing your business for a successful holiday season will not only increase your productivity and help secure your assets, but will also result in a lowering your stress as you put your business on autopilot.

Luis Orbegoso is president of ADT Business, where he develops and executes the company’s strategy for providing security solutions for business owners.
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