Retail Holiday Checklist: Complete These Key Tasks Before the Christmas Rush

The Christmas countdown is on! Shoppers are on a mission to complete their lists and retailers are starting to see foot traffic steadily increase. To help prep your business for a successful holiday season, we’ve put together a checklist of all things big and small that will help you and your team get ready for the rush.

Check it out:

Stock up (not just on merchandise…)

We’re not just talking about products to sell. Here are some items you need to have in your store to effectively serve your holiday shoppers:

  • Have cash desk supplies handy: Bags, pens, till tape, staplers, hold tags, extra cash float — these items tend to grow legs and disappear when things get busy, so make sure you’re stocked up. You may also want to increase your daily cash float, so you’re never caught off guard.

Vend Tip

Learn how to expertly track your cash float and petty cash using Vend’s cash management features! Click below to find out how.

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  • Order gift boxes: Order branded boxes for your customers to packages their gifts in. If you choose a minimalistic design, you’ll be able to use any leftover boxes post-Christmas too.
  • Get additional cleaning supplies: With more foot traffic, comes more dirt. Make sure you have entry mats to catch slushy snow (or sand, depending on where you are in the world!), a good mop, and lots of window cleaner to keep your shop in tip top shape.
  • Stock up on gift cards: Gift card sales skyrocket during the holiday season, so be prepared. If you’re a Vend user, check out Plastic Printers whcih can fully customize the look of your gift cards. Display your cards on your cash desk to attract last-minute shoppers and people looking for stocking stuffers.

Vend Tip

Did you know that you can sell and redeem gift cards with Vend? Just login with your admin account to enable the feature in your stores. Click here to login or read this post to learn more about gift cards with Vend.

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Prep your space

Get your retail all decked up for the holidays! Here’s how:

  • Set up your decor: String up some lights and put out some fake snow. Holiday decor will get your shoppers in the giving spirit!
  • Consider adding rest stations: Holiday shopping can be exhausting. Set out a few chairs for kids or tired shoppers. For that added touch, try providing chilled water, phone chargers, or magazines.
  • Create your playlists: Put down the the Mariah Carey Christmas album and curate a festive playlist that suits your brand, but give it enough variety that you won’t drive your staff or customers nuts!
  • Display your return/exchange policy: Be sure to display your policies clearly at the cash desk, as well as on the receipt. Have your staff reinforce this during the checkout transaction, especially on any final sale items.

Prep your staff

Your store employee can make or break your holiday season. That’s why it’s important to a) have enough staff on-site, and b) keep your team happy. Accomplish that by taking these steps:

  • Hire additional people: You’ll need some extra hands this time of year, so hire accordingly. Ask your current staff for trustworthy referrals to keep your culture strong.
  • Stay on top of scheduling: This one is big. Make sure you have enough coverage at peak hours and schedule staff breaks. It can be easy to get caught up with customers and before you know it, no one has eaten lunch! It’s also likely you’ll be extending your opening hours, so a roster that ensures your staff stay fresh is important. Customers will often stay in your store until the last minute, so see to it that you have scheduled enough time after your doors are closed to do a proper tidy and clean before the next day.
  • Host a pre-holiday staff meeting: Make sure your staff are prepared on product knowledge, store policies, and POS operations. Host an up-selling workshop and ask your team to share their favourite product pairings and add-ons. Make the meeting fun and festive to get your team excited to hit the sales floor!
  • Daily comms sheet: You’ll be busy chatting with customers and manning the cash desk as shifts rotate, so put up a daily comms sheet in the backroom to let your staff know about any special updates, store goals, shift schedules, break times, and coverage zones as soon as they come in.
  • Run contests: Consider weekly contests with your team to boost their sales targets or customer info capture. This will help keep them motivated to go the extra mile.

Vend Tip

Are you using Vend? Take advantage of the software’s intuitive reporting to help assess which products could use some love on the sales floor.

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Stay safe and secure

The holidays will send larger than usual crowds to your store. And while that can be a good thing for sales, it can also leave you vulnerable to theft and fraud, or worse — put your employees and customers in harm’s way. Take these steps to prevent that:

  • Set the right user permissions: Review your POS user permissions to make sure you know exactly what your staff can see and do with your POS. Pay extra attention to those who can process voided sales, as this is a very easy way to steal stock.
  • Secure your hardware and software: Get in touch with your hardware and technology vendors and talk to them about any relevant updates. Needless to say, if your equipment isn’t up to snuff, take immediate steps to address the issues. Ditto for your software. Don’t ignore those update prompts you get from your apps. The newest version of an app or solution contains the most updated features and security measures, so it’s less vulnerable to hacks and breaches.
  • Devise ways to keep your store from being overcrowded: Take note of your store’s maximum occupancy and ensure that you stay within its limits. Some retailers have found success by implementing staggered entry during busy shopping events. These stores would only allow a certain number of people in the store (e.g. 25 a time) to ensure that the space doesn’t get too crowded.

Always be one step ahead

Here are some miscellaneous tasks that you need to stay on top of this season:

  • Set-up extra registers: Avoid queues and open a second (or third) register to handle the increase in transactions. Check out Vend’s step-by-step guide to quickly setting up your new register.
  • Organize your sales and promotions: Plan your start and end dates for any special holiday sales and brief your staff ahead of time. Have promo signage printed and ready to go.
  • Schedule your socials: To save time, pre-schedule your important posts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and your blog throughout the holiday season.
  • Shipping deadlines: Clearly state your “order by” dates on your website to ensure all your customers get their gifts on time. Check your shipping provider for date guidelines.
  • Finish your holiday shopping: It’s not just about your customers – you need to enjoy Christmas too! Make sure you take a break, get your shopping done early, and make the most of a great holiday season.

Hope this helps!

The Christmas season is always a big deal for retailers, so it’s incredibly important to be prepared. Hopefully, this post helps you do just that.

Happy holidays!

About Natasha Glatz

As Program Experience Manager, Natasha connects with Vend’s retail community through unforgettable experiences, training, and development. She has a history in event management and retail operations, and a real soft spot for working with local business and charitable organizations. Natasha also has a love for live music, the ocean, and campfires (particularly where s’mores are present).