How to Prepare for Holiday Retail Season: A Checklist

How to Prepare for Holiday Retail Season: A Checklist

Carl Addoumieh

Thursday, September 30, 2021

The holidays are quickly approaching, and many retail stores will be preparing for the biggest shopping days of the year. With so many people buying gifts this time of year, every store wants to get in on the action and generate more revenue than ever before. 

We’ve put together an easy-to-follow checklist to help you get started on the right foot this holiday shopping season and ensure your customer’s expectations, both online and offline.

Holiday retail season checklist

Look at the previous holidays seasons

Data is the secret to consistent success. So, before starting your holiday retail season preparation, you need to look at the previous years data.

Understand what worked well for your business and customer. What marketing campaigns drove sales the most, what products sold the most, when did you get the most traffic at your shop. You should also look at what didn’t perform well, understand what to avoid or how to fix it. After having your data set and ready, start by working on the next steps.

Hire enough staff for the holiday retail season rush

The holiday retail season is coming, and you may be feeling the pressure to hire enough staff for the busy holiday season. One of the most important decisions you make this year will be hiring new employees.

It can be difficult to find qualified applicants with experience during peak season, so it’s worth taking some time now to identify people who might fill in when vacancies arise or if an employee needs relief from working too many hours over the holidays. You should also consider recruiting part-time workers for days off between shifts or just one day per week during peak demand.

Make sure your team is trained for the holiday retail season

The holidays are just around the corner and ready to kick off a busy season for retailers. With so many things going on, it’s easy for your team to get overwhelmed and make mistakes when they’re not prepared. In order to avoid being caught off guard, you must start preparing early — ideally by training your employees in advance about what they can expect during the holidays. 

This way, they’ll be more prepared when customers rush and have questions, or complaints during their busiest times. You should also include new staff members, as seasonal workers tend to be less experienced, familiar, and involved in any seasonal preparation work. Hence, they understand what needs to happen before the holiday season begins.

Set your holiday retail season opening hours

Businesses tend to have longer or more specific opening hours based on their business and customers during the retail season. So, you must know your shop’s peak hours and customers’ times and set your working hours to fit their needs and your staff capability and availability. Longer opening hours are another essential reason you might need to hire more seasonal workers to support your business.

Plan your holiday inventory

According to the National Retail Foundation, holiday sales in 2020 grew over 8.3%, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is expected to grow even bigger with restrictions being relaxed over the globe. Therefore, you need to meet your customers’ expectations by providing them with the products they need.

The first thing you’ll want to consider when planning inventory is your budget. Calculate how much money and time can be invested (or saved) by reviewing sales numbers from prior years, noting any key shopping holidays during those times like Black Friday or Small Business Saturday that might occur in November. 

Make sure to do your research before ordering, looking at which products are trending or are selling the most, what products are most appropriate for the holiday season, or what products your customers tend to buy the most during the holiday season, such as decorations.

Learn from what your competition

Looking at what you did right (or wrong) in the previous years is vital to boost your sales and optimize your customer experience. However, you still need to look at what your competition did right in the previous years. 

There is always something to learn from others, and this applies to businesses too. Look at their marketing and sales strategy and determine how they can apply to your business (if applicable) or counter it with better strategies. You can look at their promotions and offers, their marketing approach, such as email marketing, social media marketing, customer experience, customer funnel, etc..

Create a clear marketing plan for the holiday retail season

Marketing plans are an integral part of any successful business, and they’re even more important during the busiest time of year. Once you have looked at what worked best (or worst) for you and your competition, start putting together a clear marketing plan for the holiday season.

Some questions you should keep in mind when creating your marketing plan:

  • Who’s your audience?

  • What are the best channels to reach them?

  • What is the best messaging and call to action?

  • How does the plan align with your omnichannel retail strategy?

  • How does your campaign stand out from competitors?

  • What is the cost and return on investment of your campaign?

Make sure your last-mile partner is ready for the holiday rush

Finding the right last-mile partner could be challenging for many businesses. Customers’ needs and expectations differ from a customer to another. The Netherlands, Germany, and the UK have scored -13, -13, 0 on the Net Promoter Score (NPS) for delivery service. Therefore, to stand out from the competition, you need to make sure you find a reliable last-mile partner that meets your needs and your customer expectations.

So, how can you find a reliable last-mile partner? Read our guide on finding a reliable last-mile partner.

How Packaly’s last-mile delivery meets your customers’ expectations

With last-mile delivery making more than 42% of supply chain costs and the customers’ need for fast and sustainable delivery, ship from store has become the most significant trend in logistics. Packaly offers you the solution that not only meets your customers’ expectations but also fits with your business needs and model.

Packaly only offers sustainable last-mile delivery that meets your technology model through offering an easy-to-use plug & play Delivery Dashboard that can be integrated with the major eCommerce and multi-carrier platforms. 

We also help you create a less fractured delivery process, turn your store into a dark store, save on warehousing and fulfillment costs, and offer fixed costs based on your business needs. Some other benefits of shipping with Packaly are:

  • Shipping from store-to-door right away

  • Insuring your parcels up to €2500

  • 100% CO2-neutral delivery

  • Tracking & tracing your parcels in real-time

  • 15000+ Professional couriers ready to ride

  • Access to our integrations, Dashboard & API

  • 4-digit verification code for your parcel

  • Age verification on request

Start shipping sustainably with Packaly and ensure your customers’ experience to the last mile!