December is a time for many holidays and celebrations with family and friends. This means, starting the day after thanksgiving, consumers will be out shopping for gifts. This boost in demand means all businesses must be prepared to handle the influx of sales. Even though we are already halfway through December this doesn’t mean things will be slowing down anytime soon. Actually, many of the best known sales and promotions will be coming up soon.

Here are some tips to make sure your business stays prepared this holiday season:

Staff up appropriately – Use past sales patterns as a guide for your staffing this year. Properly assign the minimum number of employees your business may need in order to run smoothly. Also, make sure to think of any additional staff that may be necessary for shipping/receiving crews, stocking associates, extra cashiers and managers to keep pushing product out the door during the season of peak demand. Another key point to keep in mind is that holidays are the time when most employees will want time off with their families, so make sure to factor vacation requests into your planning as well.

Track inventory – a business’s success this holiday season will depend on how well they manage their inventory. Being able to offer customers what they want when they want it is key during the holidays because if you can’t then they will find it elsewhere. Look at last year’s sales in order to gauge the products that sold the most and what products didn’t do as well. Also, it can be just as bad to order too much of a product as it is to run out of product that’s in high demand. Having shelves stocked with inventory that’s not moving is a loss.

Website preparedness – Online sales are at an all-time high and continue to grow each year. This means you much make sure your website is able to accommodate all of the sales that you are going to receive. Take the time to work out any bugs or kinks dealing with your website for a smooth checkout process. You don’t want to lose out on any potential revenue because your website was down or because credit processing was having issues.

Stay organized – In the midst of all the craziness and ordering, make sure to stay calm and stay organized. During this time of year it can be more difficult to stay on top of daily tasks, therefore, research online tools that you can use during the holiday season, which may include tools to track inventory and shipping as well as tools to help with accounting and billing.

Get ready for post-holiday rush - the days between Christmas and New Years can be almost as profitable as the holiday shopping season. Try to create a strategy now for handling returns in a streamlined fashion.

By following these tips and staying one step ahead during the holidays it will be less stressful which will make for a joyful and successful holiday season for your business.
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