Whether you’re having a cookout, picnic, block party or heading off on vacation, 86% of Americans are planning on celebrating Independence Day this year.
This is great news for retailers, of course, as celebrations require supplies: the National Retail Federation estimates that a whopping $6.7 billion will be spent on food items. That’s a lot of hotdogs.
A lot of brands also run special Fourth of July offers and sales - and as we’ve learned from the frenzy of Black Friday, customers go wild for a limited-time bargain.
Such a significant surge in store traffic puts a lot of strain on store teams, area managers and HQ alike, and if retailers want to make the most of this huge sales opportunity, it’s important to be properly prepared.
Here are 5 top tips for ensuring that your stores rise to the occasion and make this Fourth of July a success.
Failing to plan is planning to fail
To make sure their teams are ready to sell like they’ve never sold before, stores will need:
- A full briefing from HQ on promotions and sales targets
- A strategy for promoting older stock that needs to be cleared
- A list of which products will be in high demand and will need to be stocked (e.g. anything featuring an American flag!)
- A proper check on all in-store tech - nobody wants their POS system to fail them on such a major holiday
This kind of careful preparation will help things to run smoothly on the day and keep your customers happy.
Spend extra time on staff training
Naturally, an increase in store traffic means a heavier workload for store teams.
But the solution isn’t just to increase people’s hours around July 4th. The number of sales associates in the store is irrelevant if they haven’t been properly trained in how to deal with the demands of such a huge shopping event.
Retailers should view this holiday as an opportunity for sales associates to get the kind of training that will prepare them for any situation. This will not only be invaluable for the newer team members who might not have worked during such a busy period before, but also a great refresher for your more established staff.
Be prepared for anything
Even if your store team has been prepped to within an inch of their lives, you can’t control everything. Fourth of July shopping may not be quite as intense as Black Friday, but it’s still possible for store teams to become overwhelmed and for key details to be overlooked.
That’s why it’s so important to have a contingency plan for any situation, no matter how unlikely. Learn from any issues that have cropped up in previous years and make sure your teams know what the procedure is in each instance.
If you expect the worst case scenario and plan for all eventualities, nothing can phase you - even shoppers fighting over the last case of fireworks.
Use last year’s data to your advantage
Area managers are spread pretty thin over busy periods like this, and one way that they can maximize their limited time is by studying data from previous Fourth of July sales and using them to anticipate this year’s trends.
Examining reports from POS software, for example, can give them an idea of what peak hours were last year, allowing them to make better staffing decisions and avoid crazy lines at the checkout.
Data from previous years can also be used to determine which stores need a little extra help. If certain branches were noticeably struggling last year, it makes sense to give them a little more attention to make sure the same problems don’t arise again.
Clear communication is key
Another way to make better use of valuable time is to improve the channels of communication between area managers and store teams.
Although constant, immediate contact has become the norm in our day to day lives, slow and inefficient communication is becoming a big problem for retailers. And this has a knock-on effect on customer experience: according to Retail Info Systems, 65% of HQ retail staff think that store teams having difficulty understanding instructions impacts execution.
Rather than disseminating information via multiple different channels - a combination of email WhatsApp and phone calls is pretty common - consolidate all of this onto just one platform where stores, area managers and HQ can communicate clearly and without confusion.
This will help boost stores’ compliance with HQ guidelines, and make it easier to report back on any issues in-store. Simple, really.
The most important thing here is that customers and retailers both get to actually enjoy the holiday - so happy Fourth of July from all of us here at YOOBIC!
YOOBIC is an in-store conversion optimization solution that helps retailers create a flawless customer experience and drive conversions, all year round. Find out how to #RetailSmarter with us here.