The maxim “focus on what matters” is often attributed to a well-known football coach. Turns out that lots of football coaches have said it – and probably many other famous people as well. 

The past two years have been very confusing for us all, so we may find ourselves spinning our wheels a bit as the 2021 holiday season fast approaches. Should we be ordering for spring? Trying to expand our hours? Marking down slow moving merchandise? It turns out that making time for what is most important is particularly sound advice now.

What do you need to do right away to make the rest of this year successful? Setting those priorities every day can help you reach your objectives rather than letting distractions eat away at your time.  If necessary, step away from the store so that you can set your goals and to see how best to reach them.

What does success look like for this holiday season?  The first priority has to be to continue keeping your family, staff and shopper safe from COVID. Are there actions you need to take to make that happen?  Encouraging employees to get their third vaccination would be one idea, as would continuing to require masks in the store.  Are you able to offer curbside pickup for customers who need that option? Do you have enough hand sanitizer and disposable masks?

What are your customer service goals?  Have you reviewed with your employees what makes people coming into your store feel welcome?  Do you have your holiday staff hired and trained? Have you set hours that realistically reflect the availability of employees?

It’s hard to set specific sales targets this season, but selling as much as possible will help you overcome the pandemic’s economic challenges. Have you placed all the orders you need?  With this year’s supply chain problems, it may not be possible to place reorders during December. If you can’t get all the products you hope for, how can you use your visual merchandising skills to make the store’s selection look enticing?

You may have more time now than in the thick of the season to plan your social media posts and any paid advertising that you will be doing this year.  Think about how often you want to send out email blasts, and get them put on your calendar so that you don’t forget to use your customer list effectively.

Store supplies may not be an exciting topic, but it’s important that you have the boxes and bags in stock when your store gets busy.  There are shortages and delays in this arena as well, so you can’t wait until the last minute to place those orders.

I like this quote, which I think actually did come from a football coach: “You may have a hundred things that you’d like to do, but that’s not the question. The question is what do you need to do? What has to be done right now?”

Happy retailing, 

Carol “Orange” Schroeder