The holiday shopping rush can present a host of challenges even in typical times. This year, preparing in advance for possible roadblocks can ensure you earn the most benefit from increased consumer spending, and broaden and maintain customer loyalty.
Staffing, inventory, and shipping may all require special considerations this year. Building them into your planning can help streamline the year-end home stretch.
Staffing has been a hurdle for many merchants, though seasonal hires often represent a different demographic from the non-seasonal employee base. With a few effective strategies, identifying qualified candidates and onboarding them efficiently can help your business thrive through the busy season.
Start by advertising on your own social media accounts, and asking current employees for referrals. These candidates will be familiar with your business, and may even be vouched for by people you trust. The Homebase app can help create and post a job listing across multiple sites and keep candidates organized.
Juggling employee schedules during the holiday season can get especially tricky, with requests for time off and busy shopping hours all happening simultaneously. The Time Clock apps allow employees to message each other and you directly about covering shifts, and easily track their hours. Payroll can also be integrated across the apps for seamless payment delivery.
Should you need to pay more employee hours than usual, Clover Rapid Deposit provides faster access to the funds generated by sales transactions for a small fee. This enables you to avoid the lag time of the traditional settlement funding process.
Supply-chain bottlenecks can make for unexpected shortages. But closely tracking what goes in and out of your own business can help you stay on top of what you need and when. Clover Shopventory details what’s selling quickly, profitability per item, and manages purchasing and vendor invoicing.
Clover Reporting can also break down the top five products customers are buying and at what pace, so you can stay ahead of the sales curve and stock smartly. Forecasting sales quickly can be particularly helpful during the holidays, when sales volume rises and customer tastes may shift based on seasonal trends.
Connecting with VIP customers can be especially fruitful during the holiday rush, to make sure you’re inviting back the people who deliver the most value to your business over time. Clover Customer Engagement Suite can help you identify repeat customers to acknowledge and reward their loyalty — see the Rewards app within the suite for more information. The Promos tools within the suite enables you to send specials directly to customers, too.
You can also alert VIP customers to popular items they usually buy, or that may wind up running low, to ensure they get priority.
Though the availability of some items may be uncertain, gift cards are always good business. Not only are they attractive to shoppers, customers redeeming gift cards in the future tend to spend more than the amount purchased on the card — generating future sales as well. Plus digital gift cards can be delivered virtually, so there’s no worry about physical shipping delays.
Clover Gift Cards are available in physical or digital options and simple to design and execute. Restaurants using Clover Online Ordering can add digital gift cards to their online menu, website, or social media account for ease of purchase and delivery.
The holiday sales rush can present a mix of stress and excitement, a combination small business owners know well. But with a bit of smart and simple thinking ahead, the end of the year can spell big wins with minimal hassle.
To learn how Clover can help you manage your business more efficiently all year round, schedule a consultation with a Clover Business Consultant today.
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