- Keep Your Inventory Updated
First, review how the previous year’s holiday season went. Research the holiday sales forecast and add the suggested percent to your business’ sales figures from last year to determine how much inventory to stock. You may also use last year’s sales volume along with current sales trends to determine what specific items you’ll need to stock up on or to plan what new items you’ll offer.
- Update Your Store Information
This applies to both physical and online stores: If you’re changing your schedule for the holidays, doing special promotions, or offering seasonal products, have that information easily available for your customers. Take this opportunity to make flashier advertisements for best-selling products, season-specific products, and special offers. Highlight additional services that benefit your customers, such as free gift wrapping, free local delivery, in-store pickup, and more.
- Train New Hires to Use Your POS Systems
Be prepared to accommodate your customers’ preferred payment methods, including credit and debit card payments. It’s crucial to ensure that all your employees, especially those specifically hired for the holiday season, are adequately trained in operating your Point of Sale (POS) equipment which includes software and physical payment terminals.
- Test Your POS Systems
Troubleshoot, attend to any pending software updates, incorporate additional features or acquire new equipment if necessary, and establish a contingency plan for instances when the terminal experiences technical difficulties. For example, a mobile POS can also be useful for in-store sales, to keep things moving and serving customers on the sales floor. Doing these well in advance of the holiday season will let you avoid any unexpected setbacks that might threaten your business’ potential revenue.
- Test Your Website
Similarly, e-commerce businesses should conduct a thorough evaluation of their checkout process to ensure functionality. Consider having a guest checkout option available for customers who may not want to create an account to complete their transaction. Additionally, check for security software updates and PCI compliance to safeguard your customers card data information.
While conducting the test, include an assessment of the overall performance of your website. A fast, user-friendly, mobile-responsive website experience will increase customer satisfaction and retain more visitors.
- Spell Out Your Holiday Return Policy
Around this period, merchants tend to extend their return window to accommodate early gift shopping and allow recipients to make returns or exchanges if they need to. Whether for in-person purchases or e-commerce, it’s crucial to find a balance between customer convenience and addressing concerns related to operational costs and profitability.
Here are some suggestions:
- Clearly designate “final sale” items.
- Employees responsible for processing purchases should also inform customers that what they are purchasing can’t be returned.
- Define the conditions under which you will accept returns (with a receipt only, unopened, with tags still on, etc.).
- Establish a protocol for addressing defective items.
- Have a policy in place for handling shipping costs for returns on e-commerce sales.
- Specify whether you will provide credit returns to the original payment method or exclusively offer store credit.
From decorating to updating and troubleshooting your systems, your business will benefit from the effort you put in ahead of time. That being said, the most important advice we can give is to enjoy the holiday season! If you still need a helping hand with the holiday rush, contact us at 787-774-1555 or visit us at www.acceptapayments.com for orientation and high-quality payment processing solutions.