The Roman philosopher Seneca had it right:
Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity. Not just any luck—good luck.
Certainly, the holiday seasons brings opportunity to many wireless retailers by the sleigh full. But preparing for retail’s rock star season isn’t as easy as it once was (if it ever was easy). Inventory, pricing, traffic, staffing—it’s a complex equation. Further, the rising popularity of eCommerce (and Cyber Monday), a trend toward Thanksgiving Day store hours, the backlash to Thanksgiving Day store hours, and the weakening slam dunk of what was once retail’s All Star, Black Friday—hardly a day anymore—have combined to make holiday preparation as complicated as ever for retailers.
And here’s news: after falling off by some 12 percent in 2015 (from 2014), Black Friday, this year, will play second fiddle to December 23, 2016 as the foot-traffic-day-of-the-year for retailers. (Credit, or discredit, goes to all those Thanksgiving Day store hours. Indeed, many retailers are considering whether there really is any upside to being open on Turkey Day.) In fact, in terms of sales, Black Friday won’t even come in second in 2016.
Still, the season is huge. The National Retail Federation (NRF) is forecasting that retail sales for the 2016 holiday shopping season will be heading up a decent 3.9 percent annually, a tick above the seven-year average of 3.5 percent. We’ll take it.
Here’s a look at 2016’s top 10 shopping days for traffic:
And 2016’s top 10 for sales:
For wireless retailers, 10 of the year’s hottest shopping days will all fall within the same 31 days of each other. Clearly, retail prep for modern-day holidays takes acumen that goes beyond stocking up, staffing up, and ramping up store hours and expenses.
Here are tips to help you make sure preparation and opportunity meet in the right place this holiday: your store.
Pull up last year’s numbers, and then a few years before that. As you analyze the data, go beyond sales totals and watch for spikes in business, and make a note of any slow days. See any trends? History can go a long way to informing the present. With a good grip on the data, you should be able to muster an accurate sales forecast and then order up inventory to match.
There’s nothing more aggravating than losing a sale simply because there was nobody available to ring up a customer. (And, no, that’s not a good problem to have – it’s poor planning, not to mention a customer who may never return.) Your review of the historical data should include a check of door counts and staffing. Wireless retail is a high-touch business; be sure your staff is there in numbers and ready at POS to provide a level of customer service no e-tailer can hold a candle to.
The opportunity is coming. Meet it head on with an equal amount of preparation. Then get out there and make Seneca proud.
About B2B Soft
At B2B Soft, we’re in the business of helping wireless retailers stand prepared for opportunity. Our Wireless Standard POS system helps your front-end professionals provide the best possible experience for your customers during the holidays and year round. As American’s leading retail management system, Wireless Standard is designed specifically for wireless retailers and provides 360-degree visibility to help maximize efficiency and profitability.