by Alyx Holder
Summer has come to the end and the beginning of the holiday season draws closer - we are in the fourth quarter. While this time of year is always important for the retail and service industries, this year it may prove even more crucial. 2020 has heavily impacted all industries, with some predicting worldwide economic changes into the future.
Shifting Focus to Cyber Deals
For many independently owned brick and mortar businesses, Black Friday is Superbowl Sunday. Since the early 1950s, Black Friday has been largely regarded as the beginning of the holiday shopping season, propelling commerce through the beginning of the new year. From commercial retailers to service providers like salons and spas, nearly every industry sees a considerable boost in the final months of the year. Being able to take advantage of that uptick in customer spending is all about visibility, strategy, and execution.
With the ongoing pandemic and social restrictions for public health and safety, this year’s holiday shopping season is decidedly different than any we’ve experienced before. Though trends in recent years have shown consumers opting to shop online rather than brave the crowds and lines, that difference is sure to be evident in 2020. As such, anticipating this shift to online shopping can help your business survive and thrive.
Cyber deals and cyber exclusives are a great way to drive online engagement and sales.
Offering digital discounts and other incentives for customers who choose to shop online can give you an edge over the competition.
Bundles, BOGOs, payment installation plans, and other deals are especially enticing for those who may be looking for ways to make every dollar count this holiday season. Options like contactless pickup and delivery through third-party services are also plus, allowing your customers to stay safe and heed social distancing guidelines while still supporting local businesses.
Even if this year’s Black Friday and holiday shopping season isn’t anticipated to be the usual fare, ensuring your staff is fully prepared is still important. This year requires more than the usual hiring and training practices for seasonal employees. Because of ongoing health concerns related to COVID-19, proper training for CDC sanitation and health guidelines is also a must.
Planning around the obstacles of this pandemic to ensure your staff and customers are safe and healthy takes time, which is why you should start as early as possible.
This time of year may also be a great opportunity for hiring from within! Promoting responsible and experienced team members to supervisory or managerial positions can help to mitigate the stress on your shoulders while keeping your business running smoothly. This helps to strengthen your team with only minimal training necessary. If you do decide to promote a member of your team, be sure to check in with them regularly to make sure everything is on track for a successful fourth quarter.
Beyond hiring temporary help and promoting existing employees, other staffing updates you may consider include:
Create holiday work incentives: bonuses, overtime, etc.
Divide and conquer: create a dedicated stocking team and a dedicated customer service team.
Scheduling: make sure you always have enough employees available to cover customer needs while allowing for proper breaks.
New hire support: make sure new employees are teamed up with seasoned team members to learn the ropes and for additional support.
Update Hours and COVID Precautions Information
As we gear up for the holiday season in 2020, now is not the time to ignore the ongoing pandemic. While we would all love to get back to life as we knew it without having to worry about social distancing, being a responsible business owner includes keeping these things in mind. While you are preparing for the fourth quarter this year, be sure to review your websites and social accounts and ensure all information is accurate and up to date. If your hours of operation will change during the holiday season, let customers know now with a pinned post.
You can also assuage any hesitation with frequenting your business during this time by being open and transparent about your COVID-19 precautions.
From temperature checks and regular staff testing to frequent cleaning and social distancing markers, showing that you are taking this seriously and prioritizing everyone’s safety goes a long way in building trust and loyalty.