Summer may not technically start until June 21, but like most Americans, I consider Memorial Day the unofficial kickoff of my favorite season. Is your store ready for a successful season? If you’re not sure, check out this list of 7 things you should do now to make sure your store is poised to profit this summer.
How to Get Your Store Ready for Summer
1. Plan your summer promotions. Get ahead of the curve by working out the details of your summer sales, specials and any other promotions you plan to hold. Create a marketing calendar with dates for when your promotions start and end. Then work backward to decide when you need to start marketing and advertising for each promotion to build awareness in advance.
2. Spruce up your store. Decorate your window displays with a summery theme. If you sell seasonal products, such as clothing or home décor, move them onto your shelves or racks. Make sure your store is spotlessly clean and welcoming from the outside. (Check out this list of 12 spring cleaning tips for a retail store to get you ready for the upcoming season.) Last, but not least, be sure your store’s air-conditioning, ceiling fans or other cooling system is in good working order. An air conditioned store can be a big draw on a boiling hot day.
3. Review your staff schedule. Will you need some extra workers in the store this summer? Do you have students currently working part-time who may want full-time hours during their summer break? Now is also the time to have your staff put in their requests for summer vacation time, if they haven’t already done so. Getting everyone’s vacation dates on the calendar now will avoid disappointment and arguments later. Plus, you won’t have to worry about that last-minute scramble to fill open shifts.
4. Plan for upcoming community events. Many communities have annual summer festivals, street fairs, parades or other activities that can attract flocks of customers to your retail zone. If there’s not an event like this nearby, find an outdoor event a little outside your zone and see if you can rent a booth to sell products there. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce, local newspapers and community websites to find out what events are coming up and how your store can get involved.
5. Get ready to hold your own events. Everyone is more relaxed in summer, making it a great time to host some in-store events of your own. Why not hold a product demonstration, put on a fashion show, invite an author to do a book signing, or invite customers to a wine tasting? There are many types of events — just choose one that’s relevant to your retail business. Start making plans now so you can get the ball rolling and make sure your event is a big success.
6. Prepare for slow times. Every retail store has slow days of the week or slow times of day. Then there are just those “off days” when, for whatever reason, few customers are coming in. This summer, be prepared ahead of time by coming up with ideas for “flash sales” you can do during the down times. Have some clever social media posts or SMS text messages ready to send: “It’s Two-for-one Tuesday! Come in between noon and 2 p.m. and get 2 T-shirts for the price of one.” Use these sales to promote slow-moving merchandise.
7. Build in some fun time. Speaking of downtime, be sure to plan for a little summer time off yourself. Whether you can manage a weeklong vacation, a weekend away, or just some Fridays off, you deserve to enjoy the summer, too! Put your breaks on the calendar now and you’re more likely to follow through.
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Getting your staffing right is a huge part of customer satisfaction. Long wait times and nobody to answer questions will sink your busy times and having too many staff during slow times creates waste.
Look at the current trends. Be sure that your store is ready not just by having products but also having the budget to promote it.