December usually sits at around 8th position in the UK calendar for retail sales. Admittedly, it’s never a boom month but there’s plenty of money to be made during the festive month.
We might be coming up for the worst of the winter weather, but December can still be a fairly good month for retailers. Here, resident retail expert and XPOS sales manager, Matt Peace, offers up some key actions for the month ahead to give your business a great start to 2020.
Give Sales a Boost
If you’re a large enterprise, or even a smaller shop that's enjoyed a bumper year, you might be thinking about getting some stock in just for Christmas. But if that’s not you, take a look at your sales reports from last year to see what sold well last December. Typically, it will be stocking fillers but it could also be winter clothing.
Spouses might come in to the shop to buy a gift for their golf-mad partner, so ask staff to watch out for new customers in need of extra guidance. Another tip is to bring products to the front that you need to sell or you could end up having to discount it in January.
Stack Up the Vouchers
No ifs, buts or maybes about it, this is the best time of year to be selling gift vouchers so make sure you have a stack of them to sell to customers.
December is a great time to review how you manage your vouchers and make sure you're optimising your scheme's potential. Retailers need to be able to track and monitor vouchers so avoid selling generic vouchers to customers. Print (or hand write) each voucher with a unique number and record everything on your sales system. Don’t let vouchers run past their expiry date and keep an eye on how many are outstanding. Remind members to use them if you can.
XPOS customers can look forward to a fantastic new voucher system in the New Year which will help you sell, manage and redeem your vouchers more efficiently within the sales system. To get ready for the new voucher system, use the Voucher Maintenance area of XPOS and clear down old vouchers. Keep the ones you still need but allocate a time frame for outstanding vouchers.
Dig Deep into Customer Accounts
This is the perfect month to get on top of any debt to the business, as well as money you’re holding for members (credit): both of which will seriously damage your business if left too long. Chasing up debt can usually be resolved with a phone call to the member, but credit is often trickier to sort out.
If you're wondering why this is so important, just imagine if a customer comes into the shop and uses his old-standing credit account to make a high value purchase ... Suddenly there's a few hundred pounds going out of the shop but you spent that money on new stock years ago. It would seriously hit your margins.
Don’t leave it too long to get on top of credit accounts and watch out for accounts that are accumulating. If members aren’t coming into the shop to spend the money, ask yourself why and dig a bit deeper. Use the Hub dashboard in XPOS V2 for an up to date snapshot of the health of your customer accounts. See pic below.
Hub Dashboard: The green credit refers to money you’re currently holding for customers, and red represents the amount of debt against the business.
Matt’s top tips to avoid the pitfalls of customer accounts:
- Email customers monthly to remind them to either spend their credit with you, or pay any outstanding debts.
- Encourage customers to use their credit at point of sale.
- Keep the cash from medal winnings in a separate account to make sure it doesn’t touch your bottom line
- Put an expiry date on customer accounts. Many pro shops do this and it makes great commercial sense!
Clear Out Comps
Start off the New Year with a clean slate and clear out your competition winnings. Chase up any monies outstanding from competitions and delight the winners with cash owed to them.
Get ready for a fantastic new competition system in 2020 with a software update in XPOS which will integrate competitions into the sales screen: improving the way you manage, accept entries and distribute winnings.
For more great retail advice, follow me, and Crossover Technologies, on social or get in touch via the CHAT button in crossovertec.co.uk.
All existing XPOS customers will be updated to the fantastic XPOS Version 2 in 2020. If you'd like more information, please just get in touch.