WEEK 1 / OCT. 3-7
EVENTS Finalize arrangements for any special events over the next three months; confirm staff assignments.
MANAGEMENT Make a note to raise the political situation at your next staff meeting. Yes, it’s an interesting campaign. Yes, your view is just common sense. No, don’t share it with patients.
GIFT WRAPPING Do a count of all packaging and boxes and other wrapping supplies. Place orders if it looks like you may run short in the run-up to Christmas.
INVENTORY Create a merchandise checklist and add these dates to your calendar: special order cut-offs, delivery dates, dates your suppliers are closed.
WEEK 2 / OCT. 10-14
STAFF Any temporary holiday staff members should be trained and in place by the beginning of November.
MARKETING Launch a holiday-specific email newsletter with specialized eyecare tips and product offers. Prominently display “Top Sellers” and “Our Picks,” etc., to stimulate gift ideas.
SECURITY Check that all your security equipment is working and that security cameras are pointed in a useful direction. (A common police complaint is that retailers cameras often only get the top of a suspect’s head.)
MANAGEMENT If you have a large staff that doesn’t always communicate well, get them ready to cover each others’ backs this holiday season with “lunch roulette.” Participants select a date when they are free for lunch, then pull a random name from a hat.
OPERATIONS Finalize work schedules for the next 12 weeks (including the first half of January). Check your staff’s obligations and work around any conflicts. Identify peak hours and ensure your best opticians will be on the floor.
WEEK 3 / OCT. 17-21
TECHNOLOGY Google your key product categories (shoppers search for products and brands far more frequently than retailer names). Does your store’s name appear early or are your competitors’ names coming up first? It takes 30 to 45 days for website changes to register with major search engines, so if your store’s lagging on page 3 or 4 of Google, you’ve got work to do. Now is also the time to start adjusting site content for the holiday season. Put Christmas into your titles and keywords, and start putting it in people’s heads.
FINANCIALS Meet with your accountant to discuss your 2017 tax strategy.
OPERATIONS Give the “Little Drummer Boy” his marching orders once and for all. Have some fun curating a holiday playlist.
WEEK 4 / OCT. 24-28
WEBSITE Start running regular tests of your website at different times of the day and week and on different devices to ensure it is ready to withstand an increase in traffic that may hit it in the weeks ahead. Studies show that even a three-second delay in loading a page can have a marked effect on visitors’ browsing. A fast, stable, and reliable website has never been more important for companies. If there are problems, look into switching hosting services.
OPERATIONS Analyze your checkout procedure. Work on making checkout speeds as quick as possible. Are you ready to deal with a rush of last-minute shoppers?
SALES FLOOR Install a scent diffuser. Just about any nice smell will keep customers lingering longer, but pine, cinnamon, and mulled cider — combined with the sounds of carolers, traditional hymns, and pop holiday tunes in the background — will reinforce the spirit of the holidays.
WHAT’S ON YOUR TO-DO LIST FOR OCTOBER?
“SEVERAL VENDORS NOW OFFER WINDOW CLINGS INSTEAD OF POSTERS, SO I MAY SPRUCE UP THE WINDOW DISPLAYS WITH THOSE.” — Jocelyn Mylott, D’Ambrosio Eye Care, Lancaster, MA
This article originally appeared in the September 2016 edition of INVISION.