I’s that time of year again, when it seems like most of the world is getting ready to celebrate family and friends. For you, the holidays herald the start of your busiest and most hectic season – and the source of most of your yearly sales. How can you make the most of this time and drive the most revenue? We have some advice for retailers preparing for the holidays, and some tips on improving your cash flow just when you need it most.
Are you ready for the stampede? The shoppers are descending and you need to make sure you are well-stocked with their favorite items. If you’re offering a special promotion or a discount, it’s important not to turn away shoppers who come in looking for it. That’s the fastest way to get them out of your store in a hurry, purchases unmade, and possibly even leaving them with a negative impression of you that you can’t shake.
If you’re having a hard time coming up with the cash to spend on inventory, you have a few options. You can:
- Ask vendors for credit on your purchases.
- Use invoice factoring to sell off your outstanding invoices for quick cash.
Make Sure You Have Enough People on the Floor
One of the main reasons shoppers leave a store without purchasing is because they can’t find somebody to help them with answers to questions. Don’t leave your guests hanging by having too few people on the sales floor. Seasonal help can be challenging to find and train quickly, but there are resources you can call upon:
College students often make terrific seasonal employees. Consider putting up flyers where your local college students hang out – on campus and in coffee shops for starters.
Retirees are a huge untapped pool for seasonal help. They often want to make extra money for their families, and they have a wealth of experience you can use.
Be quick, but choosy. You’ll have to scan applicants quickly, whether they are applying in person or with a resume. Look for relevant work experience, and judge whether or not they will be cool under the sometimes intense pressure of a holiday shopping environment.
Arrange Your Floor Space to Accommodate a Crowd
A crowded environment might seem like a good idea. It makes your business look busy and popular and therefore desirable. However, shoppers still need to have a stress free shopping experience. Make sure your floor space is used as efficiently as possible by evaluating your layout and adding display units as needed to get customers to goods as quickly as possible.
A good source for fixtures on a budget is stores going out of business. Often, they will advertise their sales displays on Craigslist, but you should also check for local groups on Facebook to see if there are any specializing in what you’re looking for. You can also check with your local government to find businesses near you filing for bankruptcy.
Since you’re in a rush to get fitted out before the holiday rush, you probably don’t have time for bidding and shipping. However, if you want to find great deals on used displays, sites like Bidspotter and Auction Services can get you set up for next holiday season.
Getting Past the Anxiety
The holidays hold enough anxiety (along with good cheer and happiness) for shoppers, let alone business owners. If you’re relying heavily on good sales during the holidays to keep your business going, the stress can be powerful and it can influence your judgment and effectiveness. You might be tempted to take a rash action out of anxiety that isn’t really in your business’s best interest.
Focus on what you can do today to make your business more profitable, and keep focusing on that goal one day at a time. When it all gets to be overwhelming, don’t forget to breathe. Even something as quick as a 30-second break with breathing exercises can set you on the right path again.
When the holiday madness dies down after the New Year, don’t wait – start planning! Make a holiday sales plan for next year that starts in September or October, and make sure you’re well-funded to take on the extra expenses.
Get Cash before the Holidays Hit
The average shopper will spend $1,211 this holiday season, and every retailer wants a piece of that pie. While there are several ways to get quick cash for your holiday business expenses, the fastest and most accessible is a merchant cash advance. A merchant cash advance:
- Permits a less than perfect credit score
- Funds in 24 to 48 hours directly into your bank account
- Only requires that you be in business for 1 year and make $15,000 per month in revenue
- Provides funding up to $500,000
The advance is debited from your bank account with an agreed-upon percentage of your daily credit and debit card sales. For more information on how to kick your holidays into high gear, reach out to Horizon Business Funding.