For most of us, it seems like the holiday season starts earlier every year. But for those who work in the retail world, it may seem like the holiday season never actually ends - at least when it comes to planning for it.
After each holiday season winds down, businesses are heading right back to the drawing board to come up with ways they can make the next one even better. But no matter how much planning you do, you're bound to forget something. Here's a checklist of things to remember as you get your store ready for the next holiday shopping season:
* Gift wrap and gift bags
. Your busy customers will thank you for offering these so they can get everything in one place.
* Gift cards. The explosion in the popularity of gift cards in recent years is partially because they're the perfect gift for the person who's impossible to buy for.
* Gifts for your customers. Before your customers come in to do their holiday shopping, purchase some items that will help ease any holiday-rush related stress. Calendars, cards, chocolates and candies are just a few examples of great business holiday gifts
* Holiday marketing specials. Running a special deal over the holidays is a good way to get people in the door.
* Take inventory of your marketing tools
. Is your website in dire need of an upgrade? Could your logo use a facelift? Now is the perfect time to make sure all your marketing materials are sending the right impression to holiday shoppers. You could even decide to add a holiday touch to your logo and corresponding marketing materials.
* Sales tracking. The lead-up to the holiday season is a good time to make sure your analytical tools are working correctly. It's also a great time to try new products. If you wait until the rush, you may not have time to make necessary adjustments.
* Are you stocked? You likely tracked which products sold the best during the last holiday season, and perhaps already placed your orders for more. Take some time to think about which products might sell particularly well in light of current trends, as well.
* Get in the holiday spirit. While it's busy, the holiday season is a great time to celebrate with associates and employees at holiday parties. You'll also want to send cards and gifts to those who help your business thrive - and if you purchase these items now, it's one less thing to do when the season gets busy.