Black Friday is almost here, and with it, we kick off the 2012 holiday shopping season. Whether you look forward to this day with baited breath, ready to rise before the sun has even thought of coming up, or prefer to succumb to the after Thanksgiving food coma, the biggest shopping day of the year is approaching. I can’t help but think of my years working in retail, and how these last days before Thanksgiving would be spent in a frenzy of cleaning, stocking and organizing. While it’s nice to be tucked away at my desk this holiday season, far away from lines so long I couldn’t see the end of them, I fondly remember the invigorating buzz of holiday shoppers and the difference a pleasant shopping experience made to my customers.
Here are my top tips for a successful and stress-free holiday season:
• Make sure your shelves are stocked. Customers that come in to pick up something specific aren’t likely to wait in long lines just to ask if you have more. Also keep over stock easily accessible for quick restocking during slack times or after hours.
• Consider extended holiday hours. Everyone is busy this time of year and while your customers may not normally be night owls they’ll appreciate the convenience of an extra hour in the evening to do their shopping.
• Take a look at last year’s sales and staff appropriately. Your POS system may offer an option to see the hourly customer count for a specified timeframe so that you can identify peak times for you store. If not, talk to those employees manning the front lines. They will often have a good grasp on when your store is busiest.
• Be prepared to make the most of your slack times with pre-assigned projects. For example, have the clerk running your least busy register assigned to stock and tidy shelves during that slow hour in the middle of the afternoon.
• Place product strategically throughout your store. Put your stocking stuffers next to the checkout, or where customers wait while their prescriptions are prepared. If you have a new item that you’d like to push, have it next to your holiday best sellers. This is another area where your POS system can help by identifying your most popular products.
• Prepare your staff. For some employees this may be their first retail experience and the busy holiday season can be overwhelming. Make sure they understand their responsibilities and priorities, provide them with a resource if they need assistance (perhaps an experienced clerk or store manager) and you’ll help them keep a positive attitude even during the most hectic times. It’s also important to make sure they take a break, even if they don’t think there’s time. A burnt out and tired employee is less effective and your customers will notice.
• Don’t be afraid to get into the spirit of the season! Sometimes we all forget what the holidays are about and that enthusiastic pharmacy assistant may just brighten someone’s day and help your store to stand out from the crowd.
All these tips should hopefully help you manage your business, employees and customers much more efficiently, and using technology such as our pharmacy point-of-sale solutions should help you manage your business better and can ensure a successful holiday season!