How to prepare your store for a successful Christmas....

Believe it or not: Christmas in retail starts on the 1st of October. Although retailers spend the entire year talking about improving their systems and processes for the oncoming Christmas, it's the end of September or early October that the crazy quarter really begins.

Maybe it's the silly season approaching, or the change in the weather, whatever it is- people start loosening the purse strings and shopping more freely. When trade suddenly ramps up, it is important that you are prepared and ready to go in order to survive what's to come.

We have put together our top tips on how to prepare for a successful Christmas period:

1. Get your "aces in their places". Ensure you have your permanent team on board, from management to part-time. Identify where everyone's strengths are and train them to become experts in their area. You will need to draw upon their skills when times get hectic! Ie; you will need your stock gurus out the back and on VM, your cash and till operators processing sales, your top sellers in the fitting room and you assistant manager floating or working the floor.

2. Confirm that your permanent team are all fully available throughout December and January and if there are any approved holidays, make sure you line up suitable cover for them now. You don't want any roster surprises!

3. Start training and up-skilling your permanent team. When you bring on your Christmas casuals, you won't be able to induct or train everyone and you will need to draw upon the existing and experienced team to help you.

4. Recruit your Christmas casuals now. All your competitors will be getting on board early to lock in their team- make sure that you have the opportunity to select a skilled and talented team! By starting early, you have sufficient time to complete all the employment paperwork, train and coach your team so that everything runs smoothly and according to plan in December.

5. Prepare your back room. Your stock volume is going to increase ten-fold from here on in and all of a sudden you will be receiving more than triple the volume of stock you are used to processing! Get in and tidy up that back room. Ensure you have a clear space to stack boxes when your delivery arrives and space for your team to get in and start unpacking the stock ready to replenish the shop floor. Get creative if you need to - if you need to remove a shelf temporarily to fit boxes underneath or to stack boxes, just do it! 

Finally, remember to rest on your RDO's and recover from the chaos that is retail at Christmas....Good luck!

Rachel Wilson