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Research Shows the Holidays are starting earlier: ARE YOU READY? These six tips make for Q4 success

According to data from the National Retail Federation, the holiday season starts earlier each year in retail sales. Quarter four is the big one, the chance to bring the year to a profitable conclusion, and to celebrate the holidays by closing your books in the black.

Six tips that will help your business celebrate Happy Holidays:

  1. Look back Start by reviewing last year's sales, and make adjustments for unusual events, such as weather, trends, one-time promotions, etc. Then factor in the appropriate increase or decrease based on your current sales trend and your reading of the sales for the upcoming season. Use last year's records to estimate what you'll need to meet this year's demand.
  2. Take inventory Check to be sure you'll have enough paper bags, boxes, tissue paper, register tape, shipping tape, and other items you'll need to wrap or deliver customers' purchases.: Check to see that you'll have enough merchandise on hand to satisfy customers.
  3. TrendSpotWhat are your customers looking for? Have you noticed a trend toward elegance? Perhaps it’s a desire for rustic artisan-made items? What will catch the eye of the demographics you target? Check magazines and Pinterest, and stay aware of the trends.
  4. Order earlyLarge customers can buy out your favorite holiday items. Make sure you follow up your planning with meticulous paperwork to get your orders in to vendors as early, as complete, and with as much detail as possible.
  5. Customize Make the holidays bright for employees and customers with gifts that display company colors and logos. There are lots of ways to keep your gifts personalized, rather than generic.
  6. PromoteLet customers know you’re ready. In Q3, plan displays with sample items and reminder signage. Use social media. If your budget includes advertising, book it early.

To be frank, May and June were the optimum time to get fourth quarter inventory ordered. But it’s not too late! Sit down and confirm your holiday needs.

Take the time to create an array of gifts and containers that map to your customer demographic and your fourth quarter budget. Then get those orders in, and work with your customer support team to finesse the details and choose the shipping date that works for your holiday schedule. Of course, we know it’s sometimes necessary to tweak orders. That’s usually fine. Suppliers want you to have what you need and will bend over backwards to make sure it happens.

Happy Holidays can be yours if you take a little time today!