ONLINE Last Christmas, for the first time, the majority of digital retail traffic came from mobile devices. Test your website and any apps to ensure your customer experience on tablets and phones is working as well as on desktops... it rarely does.
MANAGEMENT Winter is on the way and with it, flu season. Recommend staff members get a flu shot, on company time if need be. You don’t want to be understaffed this holiday season.
MARKETING Post your advertising schedule in the back room. Give copies of all ads to staff, so everyone is literally on the same page.
MARKETING Begin your flex-dollars advertising in local print media. What’s your promotional target this year? Whether you want customers to stock up on contact lenses, get new prescription eyewear, save on the vision-correction procedure of their choice, or all of the above; now is the time to get your message out.
PROCEDURES Study your parking lot. Devise and publicize a policy on staff parking. What do you do if a car needs to be towed?
STAFF Part-timers asking the same questions over and over because they weren’t trained on basics can drive you to drink. Come up with the most common things that go wrong and prepare answers. “Where’s the POS receipt paper?” “What happens if the CC authorization goes down?” Write down all the answers now so you don’t have to when patients are three-deep at the fitting stations.
MARKETING Not looking forward to writing and mailing hundreds of Christmas cards, but would still rather send something more personal than a mass email? A service like SendOutCards.com might be the answer. Log on to the website, choose a card, write your message and hit send. SendOutCards prints it, stuffs it and mails it, all for less than a greeting card at the store.
MARKETING You and your staff should start soon on your own holiday shopping to get it out of the way. Have business cards for your store handy so you can hand them out to the people you meet.
INVENTORY Fill holes in inventory with a focus on fast-sellers. Begin weekly reviews of core products and set a replenishment plan.
IN-STORE Start feeding holiday songs into the store lineup. At first, aim for every fourth song and then over the next six weeks increase the rotation.
WEBSITE Update your local pages on Google, Facebook and elsewhere to ensure they reflect any special store hours or sales over the holiday season. Add terms such as “holiday hours” and “holiday sales” to your meta descriptions to give your web pages a better ranking than the competition.
INVENTORY Run through your orders and stay on top of your vendors. Timely delivery is critical now. Running out of your core items is almost as bad as ordering too much of a bad seller.
MANAGEMENT Start a store tradition to let people know the holiday season is here. It could be a special bowtie that you bring out once a year, a special team dinner or a charitable drive like Toys for Tots.
GOODWILL Black Friday marks the start of the holiday shopping season. Play Santa and sneak in a little gift with every purchase.