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October is almost over, and with as excited as many of us are about Halloween it means one big thing for business owners: the upcoming holiday rush.


No matter what field or industry you work in or serve, the next few months are likely to be your busiest time of year, and taking steps to prepare even this close to the rush is always a good idea. In the past we’ve provided some tips on preparing warehouses for the holiday rush, so this year we’re focusing on the other half of the retail business: retail stores, and what you can do to get ready for the influx of holiday shoppers.


Forecast Your Sales: When planning for the holidays, a good place to start is to review your previous year’s sales and inventory levels to see where you were and where you might go. What products sold? What products didn’t sell? If you have an online storefront, how did people find you? Do you have items that have already started selling well that you should stock up on or prepare to move a lot of? Reviewing your previous sales and figures can be the best place to start with planning for this year.


Get Your Suppliers Ready: If you haven’t started to receive your holiday inventory yet, now would be the best time to start contacting suppliers and catching up on needed inventory. Get in touch with your suppliers and give them a heads up on planned inventory orders as well as any critical shipping or receiving deadlines for said orders, just to make sure they can arrive on time. (This goes for more than just items for sale – business supplies such as cash registers, office supplies, and should be ordered with plenty of time to spare too.)


Staff As Needed: Depending on how big your store is, you might want to bring in some extra help. Take a look at sales volume and operating income from the previous year and determine how much extra staffing you can hire and maintain. Extra help either on the floor or in your fulfillment center can always come in handy, and hiring them sooner than later will help bring everyone up to speed with store policies.


Re-Organize the Shop Floor: With the influx of new products coming into your store, you might need to re-organize your retail displays and shelving on the floor to provide better access to products. As needed, buy additional retail displays or wire shelving to hold new products, and try to make sure everything is arranged in a fashion that makes it easy for your customers to navigate the racks and find the items they want.


Know How To Reach Your Audience: Finally, after all these steps you’ve taken to prepare your store, you need to make sure you can find the right customers for your products. Review your current marketing plan and make sure you give your customers a reason to shop your store – and to come back. If you’re an ecommerce business, are you advertising on the right sites and social media channels? Are your remarketing efforts targeting the right people? And if you have a storefront, can people find it easily? Do you have in-store offers or coupons? Reconsider your marketing efforts to make sure all of your planning doesn’t go to waste over a slow holiday season.

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