Tip #1: Turn on and test all cashier lanes.
Has it been a while since you've turned on and tested all POS lanes? Yes? You're not the only one! It's time to dust off that spare lane and make sure it's running like a dream before the holiday crowd arrives.
You don't want to find yourself scrambling right before the holiday rush to order replacements for old, malfunctioning hardware. Due to the current supply chain stressors, it is highly recommended that you test all cashier lanes as soon as possible and go ahead and order hardware that may need upgrading or replacing. It isn't a bad idea to keep a few spare pin pads and receipt printers in the back office to make sure a whole lane isn't down just because of worn-out hardware.
While you're at it, ensure your hardware is running on the latest software version available for maximum speed and performance.
Tip #2: Stock up on the tiny essentials that keep your stores running smooth.
This sounds like an obvious one, but it's easy to forget when you find yourself in the middle of holiday mania. Last-minute panic ordering is never a fun time and you've got more important tasks to get to than refreshing the UPS website every five minutes.
More transactions mean more receipt paper going out the door, more sales mean more labels going on shelves, and they don't call it "the season of giving" for nothing! Make sure you have a healthy stock of gift cards and loyalty cards on hand; we can even recommend some popular holiday-specific card designs that would look great next to your registers.
Tip #3: Develop a holiday pre-order plan, and lean into automating it.
Food brings people together, and while most look forward to family gatherings, it can be a nightmare for others. Make the holidays easier on your customers and give them the opportunity to pre-order everything from the main course to the sides and desserts! As shoppers prepare grocery lists of their family and friends' favorite homecooked meals, you'll want to give them peace of mind by offering pre-orders on popular items, like turkeys, ham — you name it.
Properly training your staff to accept pre-orders and advertising this offering to your customers is just as important as offering pre-ordering.
Tip #4: Launch your loyalty program.
If you've thought about launching a loyalty program but have not gotten around to it, the holidays are the perfect time to do so! Shoppers want to get the most out of their experience, including perks like earning points on their purchases. With the influx of grocery shopping during this time of year, this is the perfect time to launch your loyalty program and incentivize shoppers to keep spending at your business after the holidays. Make it easy with a simple points-earning program, punch cards, or event-based reward. Consider offering a holiday-focused point-earning program that builds in even more incentives to exclusively shop at your stores during the holiday season.
Keep your customers coming back and grow your fan base with the CATAPULT Loyalty Suite, which requires no additional third parties.
Tip #5: Prepare for the online order rush.
According to NRF's holiday sales report, grocery and beverage stores' sales were up 9.6% in 2020 compared to 2019. In the report, Kleinhenz said, "holiday-related spending picked up in the third and fourth weeks of December after it was too late to expect delivery of online purchases by Christmas. Consumers turned to quick in-and-out trips to stores and took advantage of buy online, pick up in-store/curbside services retailers have perfected over the past several months."
With this in mind, it's critical to have the right tools and trained staff to prepare for the rush of online orders. Having a click-and-collect solution, like WebCart™, is the first step in preparing to take online orders. Beyond that, having a streamlined picking process powered by a technology solution, like PickAssist®, along with being prepared to process payments curbside are vital components to orchestrating a seamless online ordering experience for your shoppers.
Are you ready to bring all of these best practices together? Contact ECRS today to get started with CATAPULT®!