Author: Cassie Gasaway
You’ve been waiting for your busy season’s return since it ended. Well, it’s almost here! To make the most of it, prepare now. These tips can maximize your sales and success.
Analyze where your sales were at last year and stock your store accordingly. Photo Credit: ATA
Reflect on Last Season
Whether you hit or missed your mark last year, analyzing those efforts can resolve problem areas and reveal insights for overcoming challenges. That can be difficult work, but own your mistakes—and your successes—and take steps to capitalize on them.
– Check your sales reports to pinpoint where you lost or profited.
– Study your inventory levels and stock accordingly.
– Order products and confirm when they’ll ship to ensure they’ll arrive on time.
Determining your inventory needs is tricky. If you stock too much, you’ll lose money. If you stock too little, you’ll likely lose customers. If you’re worried about overstocking products, contact vendors to confirm ship times so you can give customers accurate information if they want to order out-of-stock products. Your sales reports help you make those judgments. If you’re unsure, trust your gut or ask your peers for guidance on ATA Connect.
If you order fewer products, rework your budget to maximize your money. Consider spending excess money on marketing to generate interest in your products and services. It also ensures people know your business exists. Also study your website’s Google analytics to learn which web pages and products customers viewed or bought. Use that information to craft a productive marketing plan.
As you reflect on last year’s busy season, ask yourself if you felt overwhelmed. Was your work-life balance skewed? If you answered yes to either question, consider hiring help.
Hire and Train Temporary Help
Evaluate your staffing to determine if and where you need help. Do you need someone in sales or marketing? Could you benefit by hiring an instructor? Or do you need a cashier or bow technician? Read the ATA article “4 Signs You Need to Hire Help” to learn how temporary help can benefit your store.
Do you need help writing a job description? The ATA can assist. Log into the ATA’s Resource Website for sample job descriptions. Click here for login instructions. You can also contact Nicole Nash, ATA’s range and retail programs manager, for tips to promote the job and interview candidates.
Once you identify the position you need, hire someone with the skills and personality to fill the void. Once they’re onsite, train them to succeed, and review your store’s policies, procedures and product information. Make sure your hires know their responsibilities and your expectations.
If hiring help isn’t in your budget, consider delegating tasks and cross-training employees. Versatile employees reduce your risks. Capable, well-rounded employees can step in whenever and wherever needs arise.
Make sure your staff knows your inventory and is prepared to answer any question. Photo Credit: ATA
Hold Staff Meetings
Staff meetings help business owners share information, gather feedback and provide learning opportunities. Schedule regular meetings. Now’s the right time. The busy season is chaotic, but regular staff meetings ensure everyone stays in sync and works toward the same goals. Gather your employees before or after work to ensure they’re not distracted by tasks or customers. Pay them for that time. Start with 10-minute meetings to start each day, and decrease them to weekly or monthly as needed.
To make the most of your money and their time, create an agenda and organize your thoughts. Share ideas, provide guidance, recommend changes, discuss customer feedback, and inform them of upcoming events, classes and programs. Ask for their help and encourage suggestions about improving business. Staff are your store’s eyes and ears. They’ll also feel important because you value their opinions.
Protect Your Shop and its Assets
Potential hazards increase as more people enter your store. You’ll likely face theft, accidents, power outages, natural disasters, equipment failures, employee illnesses, cyber-security attacks, and other unforeseen challenges. Those situations could affect your employees, customers and workplace, so have a plan to withstand setbacks and disruptions.
To boost your store’s security to prevent theft, lock up valuables, install a security system, and rearrange your shop to form a bottleneck at the entrance. Also buy insurance that protects you from theft and other hazards, such as accidental injuries. Save for maintenance issues like broken pipes and windows, or heating and air-conditioning breakdowns. Customers will avoid your store if they know it struggles to maintain a comfortable environment. By preparing for emergencies, you help your business stay afloat. Read the ATA article “Is Your Business Prepared for Emergencies?” to learn more.
Having a clean and organized store will encourage customers to stay longer because they won't be overwhelmed. Photo Credit: ATA
Clean Up and Organize
Before your shop fills with customers and products, take time to clean and reorganize. If you see dust, clutter and garbage, your customers will likely see it first. You might even overlook it, but your customers won’t. They’ll then take their business elsewhere.
To impress customers, clean your floors and aisles, dust your shelves and products, and neatly stack or hang your merchandise. A clean, easily navigated store floor creates a welcoming environment. Plus, orderly shops boost sales and improve customers’ experiences.
Click here for a cleaning checklist.
Advertise and Post Content
If you’re busy helping customers, you probably won’t have time to create content for your website or social-media accounts. Don’t let these awesome marketing tools sit stagnant from September to January. Create content now.
If you need content ideas, read the ATA article “Generate Profit-Driving Content for Your Website.”
You can also install the ATA’s Archery 360 widget and Bowhunting 360 widget on your website. The free widgets populate your site with fresh, unique archery and bowhunting content, making your job as a content creator easy. Click here to learn more.
Similarly, the ATA has free resources that help its members generate content for their social-media platforms. Check out the ATA’s 12-month Social-Media Calendar. This calendar offers posts that encourage people to comment online, visit your website, or drive to your store. Log into the ATA’s “Resource Website” to download this free document.
For more hands-on help, work with an ATA-member service provider. Log into your MyATA Login account to learn more.
If you plan and prepare, you can conquer the retail rush this year. Good luck!