About the Author
Grainne Shaughnessy is the content, PR and events manager at Brightpearl, which means she spends most of her days writing, editing, and bringing together resources relevant for independent retailers. Brightpearl is retail management software built by retailers for retailers in the SMB retail space.
The Centre for Retail Research reported holiday spending in the U.K for 2014 was higher than any other European country, and was only surpassed by the U.S., which experienced Christmas retail growth of 2.9% (to reach £374.461 bn). Memories of last year’s holiday season are firmly at the forefront of retailers’ minds as they prepare for another busy and unpredictable season in the coming months.
Many retailers rely on the festive seasonal peak for as much as half of their annual sales. For these folks the upcoming time of year can be rewarding, but it can also prove to be many retailers downfall and a source of many problems. So what are the common challenges facing retailers as they prepare for the seasonal rush> Below we have listed some tips to help avoid the common challenges experienced by retailers during the Holiday season.
Key Holiday Shopping Dates
There’s no rest for the wicked – and that’s especially true for independent retailers. There are many dates to think about during the holiday season, particularly of course Black Friday and Cyber Monday which have become big highlights in the holiday calendar.
Make sure you have a calendar printed out on your wall so you don’t miss any important dates and your team is prepared for the busy times ahead.
Print your key 2015 holiday shopping dates calendar here.
How does a retailer decide what to buy, how much, and when for the upcoming holiday season? Inventory management can be difficult, even for the most experienced retailers. A lack of confidence can results in having to be reactive, buying at unfavourable prices and experiencing logistical nightmares. By looking back over your previous years’ numbers you can predict and be realistic about your expectations for 2015. Identify similar items that did well, slow movers, and items with small return on investment to help inform your decisions. And don’t forget to order more of the products you want to use in promotions which might sell out quickly.
If you’re relying on suppliers who are likely to be going through the same seasonal peak, you don’t want to be caught by surprise so make your orders in advance. Remember to take into account the longer times needed for the necessary export documentation required.
Shoppers buy from retailers who can deliver
Over the holiday season, delivery dates can vary massively. Not only that shipping deadlines become tighter and buyers put more emphasis on fast, reliable delivery. This provides both a challenge and an opportunity for retailers. The challenge concerns a retailer’s own suppliers: shipping dates and delivery times are likely to be subject to change. Not only that, but different locations around the world take varying amounts of time out of the office.
Good preparation allows retailers to seize the opportunity to offer extended shipping deadlines to their own customers – the most successful seasonal retailers tend to be those that can both promise and deliver late season orders.
Efficiency is important here, both in terms of order processing and getting them out of the door. Test your processes so you know they will stand up against the influx of orders, and make sure you have enough staff and systems in place to handle the extra strain.
Black Friday is less than a month away and the holiday season is almost upon us! Now is the time to get organized to make sure your holiday season is a successful one this 2015.
To get more tips and advice for the Holiday season download BrightPearl’s ‘The Ultimate Retail Guide to the Holiday Season 2015’.