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The holidays are quickly approaching and will be here before you know it. So if you are a retailer, that means you’ve probably been preparing for weeks or months. You have prepped and planned to get your store and staff set up for the rush of the holiday season. 

But, are you really ready?

To find out if your store is ready for the holidays and equipped to handle the rush as it rolls through, use this list of questions to see if you are as prepared as you think.

Mood and Atmosphere

Start by looking around your store and deciding if you have set the perfect mood for a holiday experience or if there are places you can improve.

  • Product Displays: Are you properly and prominently featuring seasonal products and gifts? Is it easy for customers to find holiday-themed products?
  • Decorations: Could you add decorative pieces such as fake snow, snowflakes, wreaths, bells, garland, candy canes, or even a live tree to make more of a winter wonderland in your store?
  • Lights: Would adding a string of lights bring your holiday decorations to life?
  • Overhead Music: Are you providing the full experience by playing holiday overhead music? Are you providing enough variety so that overhead music won’t drive your staff crazy during the season?
  • Window Displays: Have you decorated your window displays to match the season? Are you using your displays to promote products that will sell well during the holidays?
  • Staff Attire: Have you spruced up your staff’s uniforms so that they look more festive and fun? Could you add a necklace, pin, or hat to infuse their outfits with more holiday spirit?
  • Scents: Could you use holiday aromas to fill your store with warm and rich seasonal scents?
  • Holiday Inclusivity: Are you representing all of the holidays of the season? Do you have decorations that represent Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa?

Promotions and Marketing

Take a look at the marketing materials and promotions that you are launching for the season, and make sure you haven’t missed anything and are ready for the holidays.

  • Website: Does your website highlight your holiday specials? Are your holiday hours prominently posted?
  • Blog: If you have an active company blog, do you have holiday posts created and scheduled to post?
  • Overhead Messaging: Is your in-store overhead messaging set to include holiday messages and specials?
  • Email: Do your upcoming email campaigns include holiday promotions?
  • Social Media: Are your holiday posts scheduled so that you can spread greetings and cheer on the day of each holiday? Have you changed your feature photos to seasonal images or graphics that highlight your holiday promotions?
  • In-Store Signs: Have you styled your in-store signs and set your digital signage content playlist to match the season? Does your content feature holiday specials and promotions?
  • Advertisements: Have you sent all of your holiday ads to print and radio advertisers? Are your online ads holiday related?  
  • On-Hold Messaging: Have you updated your hold message to include holiday greetings? Does your holiday on-hold message include your seasonal hours and mention your promotions? (Don’t forget to set a reminder to change this message after the holidays.)

Staff and Operations

To make it through the holiday season, your staff needs to be prepared and your operations need to run smoothly. So, check to make sure you have covered all of your bases as you got ready for the holidays.

  • Hours & Schedule: Have you adjusted your hours for the holidays? Have you properly notified staff and customers of the change?  
  • Staff: Do you have enough staff to provide the help you need? Do you need to add hours to staff schedules? Do you need to hire and train additional help for small tasks such as bagging or restocking shelves?
  • Inventory: Do you have enough inventory to cover the holiday rush? Does your inventory match the sales of last year? Do you have a plan for what to do if you run out of a product?
  • Gift Cards: Are you prepared to sell more gift cards than usual? Do you have extra stock of cards? Is your staff trained to sells gift cards and certificates?
  • Retail Emergency Situations: Have you run through retail emergency situations — like how to change receipt paper rolls, where to get change, where to get extra bags, what to do if an employee doesn’t show up — with your entire staff?
  • Check-Out Lines: Do you have a plan for managing long check-out lines? Do you have a way to set up extra check-out lines or mobile check-outs if lines become too long?
  • Wrapping and Boxes: Are you offering special holiday packaging, boxes, bags, or gift wrapping? Are you stocked with enough?
  • Giving Back: Is your store focused on philanthropy for the holidays? Are you promoting your cause throughout your store and allowing customers a way to give back through your organization?