If you have a product or retail based business, this is the best time of year! 4th quarter means holiday shopping, party preparations, new outfits, and tons of customers visiting our shops. Sometimes it can be hard to manage the rush that comes in the last six weeks of the year – here we’ve compiled some of our favorite tips for making the most of the holiday shopping season
- Make sure shoppers can find you! Have you checked out your Google My Business lately? Make sure any extended store hours, or holidays closings have been posted. Double check your contact info to make sure it is up to date. If customers can’t find you, they won’t spend with you.
- Instead of offering discounts this year, try offering extra gifts instead. Offering discounts trains your shoppers to always wait for a sale. Offering a free gift with a purchase encourages them to pay full price, while still making the customer feel like they “got a deal.”
- Use this time as a way to clear out overstock. As we get closer to the Holidays, or even post- holiday, offer deep discounts on products you just want *out. * I know this sounds counter intuitive to point number 2, but having all your money tied up in inventory that isn’t moving, doesn’t do you any good. After the holidays, go ahead and give some great end of year sales on products that no longer add any value to your business, and free up some cash for growth.
- Get your profit plan in place! Holiday sales are fantastic, but if you don’t have a plan for the influx of cash, you’ll find it gone come mid-February. We recommend implementing methods such as those in the book “Profit First” to make sure you set aside profits for business growth, along with funds to cover overhead during the post-holiday sales drop.
- Reward your loyal customers! Every business has their die-hard customers that support them no matter what. Find a way to reward them – whether it’s an early bird sale, or an extra gift with a purchase; during this season of giving, let them know that you appreciate their support.
All of this is good, but what about January? We just finished up 1, 2, or even 3 AMAZING months of sales, and then all of a sudden – crickets. How do you handle this? First, take a look at your data. Historically, how have sales October-December gone? Then, how did the first quarter of the following year look? You can utilize your P&L statements to help you plan for this. If you know sales drop by 70% in January, then make sure you set aside enough funds during December to cover all of your costs during the slowdown.
If first quarter drops concern you, and the drop in cash flow is a threat to your business, find ways to bring people in during the “off” months. Can you host a customer appreciation night? Bring in cheese and cracker platters, partner with other shops or makers, and host a big “Here’s what’s coming in the New Year” party!
Need help planning a strategy for the transition from 4th quarter to 1st? Schedule a meeting with one of our staff, and we’ll help you work through it!