Preparing for the Holiday Season 2020 Amidst Covid-19 Blues

December 08 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is arguably the biggest and most jarring shock the world has seen in modern history. It has left everyone reeling in its wake and brought about changes that none of us would have expected. It has had an unprecedented hit on business, especially retail businesses and store owners.

However, after almost a year of battling this pandemic and adapting to new operating methods, things are starting to somewhat go back to normal, or at least as normal as is possible given the current reality. Now, the busiest time of the year for retailers i.e. the holiday season is fast approaching and preparing for this season is extremely important. This year, without question, will be significantly different than the previous ones due to the situation we are currently facing.

Regardless of what your business is or how large your operations are, you can take maximum advantage of the holiday season even if your business has missed out on sales throughout the year. Preparation is the key to making the most of this season and by the end of the third quarter, you should be getting started on your strategies.

Starting Early

There is always a chance of something going wrong in normal circumstances and as we all know, the current situation is far from normal. Starting early allows you to iron out any issues you might be facing in advance, reducing the risk of failure due to unforeseen events.

There are a lot of variables that can play a major effect on your marketing strategy and having an alternate plan if something goes south can help you avoid serious setbacks. Planning for impediments in your supply chain, returns, refunds and other such problems can mean the difference between seeing your business thrive or sink this holiday season.

Online Presence

You can ensure your online presence in multiple ways including Google business listings, Amazon or even your own online store. What matters is that you show up in search results. Due to the current situation, different places have different laws regarding the opening of malls, stores and shopping centres.

But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t going to shop for Christmas. Businesses that have a strong online presence consisting of responsive and well-functioning website and social media pages can cater to the Christmas and holiday season shoppers in a way that just isn’t possible for brick-and-mortar businesses. You can offer pickup/click and collect services or delivery options to appeal to customers of all types and preferences.

Hygiene

While it might be mandatory in some areas to have hand sanitizer available at the entrance to your store, you should have it available all the same. A hand sanitizer dispenser does not take up much space and shows that the person is making an effort to make the shopping experience as safe as possible for the customers.

Inventory

Due to frequent delays and unreliability in the supply chain, going ahead and stocking up on some items might be a good idea. As a retailer you have to know exactly how much inventory you currently have and how much you can get. Remember, it might be difficult to find supplies at this time of the year with the pandemic on our hands. It is also a good idea to make some calculated measures on how much demand you might be facing during the busiest time of the year.

Window Shopping

Most of the time, a majority of the people that come into your store will be there just to browse around and for window shopping. These kinds of customers are usually unsure about what they want to buy.

One way to tackle this problem is to stock your shelves in a way that makes the buyers wander through the store, ensuring that they spend more time in the store looking at the different items which might not be what they need.

Popup Stores

Popup stores are currently a popular choice that a lot of retailers are opting for but not for the reason you might think. Popup stores were traditionally opened in public spaces which had a lot of traffic. However, during this pandemic, it serves as a safer alternative to having a ton of people crammed into one store for their Christmas shopping.

Customer Capacities

As is the case with a lot of industries and situations, retailers are also subject to rules and regulations enforced by the local government. Depending on the situation of your city or country, you might be subject to different rules, operating methods and timings.

During the Christmas seasons, stores usually stay open longer and customers can shop to their hearts’ content. However, we are now allowed to open our stores until a certain time and only allow a specific number of customers into the shop at one time. Customers might have to form a queue outside the stores and to manage larger crowds, additional staff might be needed.

Staff

Retailers usually require a larger number of workers to manage the additional workload that comes along with the Christmas season. These new employees need to be aptly trained and briefed as they are what allow you to get all of the work done.

Finishing Up

This has been a year with some amazing, unprecedented circumstances which none of us would have expected. Given what we’ve all been through, the Holiday season is going to be a piece of cake! However, preparations need to be made in advance to make the most of the Christmas season in terms of profits as well as customer satisfaction.

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