How to prepare for the January sales

Christmas is on its way which means the inevitable arrival of the January Sales is soon to follow.

The period following Christmas has always been associated with price drops, gathering crowds and busy retailers trying to cope with the increasing demand and longer opening times that come with the territory. This might be a fantastic opportunity for shops to offer enticing discounts when everyone’s wallets are a litter tighter but it can also be a bit of a stressful and tough time for the ones managing it all.

Decide to involved way ahead of time

Deciding to put on a sale at the last minute, putting up a few sale signs and hoping for the best is not the way to go if you want to get the full potential from sales. You need to have a strategy and start implementing it early on in the year so you have chance to think about what products would be best to discount, what you want to achieve from the sales, have time to train staff (new & old) and think about your return policy.

Just trying to get rid of stock or wanting to be more targeted?

Adapt the sales to your business needs, maybe there’s more stock left over from Christmas than originally planned for and you just want as much of it gone as possible, blanket discounts could be the answer. However, if that’s not what you’re after and want to avoid reducing profit margins too much then picking targeted lines you know will sell with a discount would be a better option.

Ensure your supply chain is ready for the task

More stock, more sales and more deliveries come with this time of year. Because of this you need to make sure your processes and systems in store and your whole supply chain are all ready and in place. You need to be able to know what’s selling out and make sure your able to get more delivered efficiently. You might need to get extra staff in if you are expecting more deliveries than usual.

Don’t forget about the web

If you have an ecommerce website as well as your shop front, you would be naive not to expect a heavy increase of traffic over the January period and your going to make sure it can handle that increase. Make yourself familiar with the capacity of your sites hosting, the amount of traffic it can handle and make sure your purchasing systems are all running as they should. Test everything within plenty of time to solve any issues that might arise early.

Communicate key messages to customers

Its important to give customers as much info as they need, your stores bound to be pretty frantic and it can help to alleviate pressure on staff if customers are well informed. If you are changing your opening hour for example, which a lot of retailers do around this time of year, then your customers are going to need to know about it if you want it to be beneficial. Get the word out online and spread it around the store beforehand.

Get your team well prepared

The sales staff on the shop floor are generally the ones who will be facing the brunt of the chaos brough on by the sales. They will have to work faster than normal while still keeping up certain levels of standards and customer service. All of this can tend to easily affect the moral of your staff, so making sure they are prepared as much as possible is crucial. To be in a good position they will need to be informed of things like, what’s actually on sale, what the discounts are, any changes in policies and any special promotions that are happening in as much good time as you can so they can not only serve customer the best they can but to keep your business running smoothly.