According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales in November and December of 2016 topped an amazing $658.3 billion. This is an astounding figure to consider—especially if you’re a retail business that’s prepping for the upcoming 2017 holiday season. It stands to reason that customers aren’t shying away from making purchases during the season of giving.
In order to capitalize fully on the potential holiday sales, it’s important to plan ahead. Retailers scrambling with last-minute sales or short-sighted campaigns are sure to fall behind competitors that have had their strategies coordinated for a month or more ahead of time. Now is the prime time to get your affairs in order, so you can execute them as planned when holiday business starts to boom.
Determine Your Efforts
What types of holiday campaigns will your business be launching this year? It’s important to determine where your efforts will be focused ahead of time, in order to properly map out all of the peripheral variables associated with them. It’s a good idea to define a specific incentive or product, benchmark desired goals and strategize on execution. For example:
Our goal is to sell 100,000 units of Widget from November 6 to December 6. During this period, Widgets will be discounted by 15%. We will use in-store signage, direct mailers and email advertisements to target potential customers interested in taking advantage of this deal.
Prep for the Campaign
Not only does determining your efforts provide a clear visualization of your campaign, it also provides you with notable insight into how you can best get ready to execute on it. This is why planning ahead is so important—it gives you a chance to gather what you need, to make sure you’re able to satisfy your campaign’s demands. Using the above example, some of the considerations you might be faced with include:
- Inventory for +100,000 Widgets (benchmark and stretch goals)
- Print marketing collateral for advertising
- Staffing hours, to train employees on sales points and operate your retail space
Perhaps the most important reason to plan your holiday campaigns in advance is to have a complete scope of understanding on how they’ll play out. This means more than just knowing the expectations of your campaign—it also means planning for adjustments that may become important. For example, ordering additional signage or determining the need for a different advertising medium.
Taking the time to set things up in advance also keeps you in control of your campaign efforts. Take, for instance, ordering signage and print collateral. Ordering a month in advance will ensure you get these materials with plenty of time before they need to be deployed. Waiting until the last minute could leave you at the mercy of a logjam at the printer or with design errors that don’t have time to be corrected.
Plan Ahead and Succeed
If your business wants to claim a piece of the $658 billion pie this upcoming winter season, it’s important to strategize ahead of time. Now is the prime time to get your affairs in order and plan thoroughly for upcoming sales, campaigns and events. Spending time organizing goals, creating collateral and planning execution will result in more time to focus on what matters during the holiday retail season: sales.