Get prepared now and you’ll hopefully have less stress later.

The holiday shopping season is about to go into full swing. Are you ready yet? If not, here are some tips for how to get your business ready for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and even Cyber Monday.

Check inventory levels
How embarrassing would it be to run out of an item your customer wants to buy? For that reason, you’ll want to review your sales numbers from last year. This assumes you were in business last year. If not, you’ll need to guess what sort of inventory levels you’ll need. If you do have last year’s numbers, then you can see what and how much of each item you sold. With any luck, your point-of-sale system includes some sort of inventory management so you should be able to pull some reporting out of there. If you think you’ll have more traffic this year, then you’ll want to first estimate how much more traffic and then order enough inventory to match.

Do some drills with your employees
In addition to helping your business get ready for the frantic holidays, this tip can also serve as a team-building exercise for employees. It can be as simple as having managers shadow employees and then provide feedback on how they spoke to customers, how they provided upsell opportunities (or didn’t) and how they responded to complaints. Or, you could simulate a crazy busy afternoon by inviting a bunch of neighborhood people to come by your business for the afternoon to help train your employees. If you offer something free in exchange for their time, many people are willing to give up an hour of their time to help. In the end, if you know the staff can respond well when they are under pressure, it will go a long way towards keeping customers happy when things get busy.

Make sure your website is up to date
When was the last time you checked your website? It’s been … months? It’s a good idea to give your site the once-over and make sure everything is up to date. Has your phone number changed? Are your store hours still accurate? Do you still sell all the same items? Go through each page and check out the details. While you’re in there, if you plan on running any specials during the holiday season, feel free to add them to the website. Many times, customers will check your website before they venture out so it’s a good idea to put all of your latest promotions on there.

Send emails to members of your loyalty club
They asked to join your customer loyalty club for a reason. Here’s one of those reasons: they want to know when your business has something special going on. Presumable, you will have some news about new offerings for the holiday season or you will be running some sort of special promotions that will entice them to come by your location to check it out. Prepare the email and let them know that the holiday specials are only for a limited time (if they are). The sense of urgency can help spur customers to take action.

Plan a social media calendar
If you don’t already plan out your social media calendar, now is a good time to do it. Presumably, you will be much busier during the holiday season and the last thing you’ll want to do is have to go post things to social media. Get organized and plan your postings in advance. Doing this will also help you make sure that you’re highlighting all of the things you want to highlight during Black Friday and the rest of the holiday season.

Become involved in Small Business Saturday
Lastly, if you’re not already involved, you might want to take a look at getting involved in Small Business Saturday, the annual tradition that brings communities together to support, well, small business. It’s a great way to showcase your venture and your dedication to the community.

Want to learn how your point-of-sale system can help your business when things get busy? Contact us today for a demonstration.