Five Tactics to Prepare Retail Staff for the Busy Holiday Retail Season

Anyone in retail will be preparing themselves for the welcomed increase in footfall as we countdown to the holiday season.


Posted by: Stuart Margetts


In the UK, nearly two thirds (63%) of retail leaders expect to hire more staff during the run up to the busy holiday period, according to a study by retail technology company Fourth. And in the US more than half a million Americans typically look for extra work around the holiday season.

Holiday season recruitment drives are critical to support current staff through the run up to the festive season.
If you have increased staff levels to cope with this busy season, what are you doing to make sure they are fully informed, well-trained and ready to cope?

Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar shop that needs salespeople and check-out staff or an online-only shop that needs people to pack and ship product, you want to ensure they’re capable of handling the holiday rush with warm customer interactions and great customer service.

Here are five ways to make sure they’re prepared.

1. Reach Everyone

The most important business decision you will make this retail holiday season is what process you put in place to reach all your employees. With an increased headcount, particularly with temporary staff, it is vital you have a system which allows communication to be available to everyone, regardless of what they do or where they work.

Reaching everyone means business information can be relayed quickly and efficiently. By keeping your entire workforce informed you are less likely to encounter mistakes that can prove costly if they keep happening.

Using a communications platform that can be accessed by everyone makes perfect business sense. Not everyone has access to a computer so making it a mobile-first platform also increases the chance of greater company wide adoption.

2.Train Your Staff (Both Old and New)

Now is the time to make sure you are investing in training. New staff need to be brought up to speed quickly so they can assist in the busy retail period without hindering existing staff.
Re-training current staff in procedures also stops mistakes happening when they are in the thick of the retail rush.
Whilst this might seem like a time investment there are ways of simplifying training. Firstly, having an easy-to-follow training manual or set of procedures that can be accessed in one place by everyone will speed up the training process.
Creating checklists that are accessible means you keep all staff on track and fully aware of what is expected of them in their roles. These will reduce training time, task complexity and minimise errors.

3. Communicate Your Staff Schedules

Scheduling retail staff, especially when you have more than normal, can seem like a never-ending task. However, there are easy ways to do this digitally that simplifies the procedure.

If you have increased opening hours, this can also add another level of organisation. Again, a scheduling tool that communicates everyone’s shift patterns and hours will do the hard work for you.

One of the hardest things to deal with in a busy retail period is staff shortages, especially in the colder months when staff sickness can be an issue. Again, having a comprehensive scheduling tool in place allows you to see where your gaps are, helping you to avoid the issue of being understaffed.

4. Prepare Your Inventory

The holiday season can be the busiest time of year for you as a retailer, where you potentially make your greatest profit due to increased sales. Not having the right stock levels means you can miss out on vital sales, and this can affect your bottom line.

Constantly monitoring stock levels to keep products moving makes you as prepared as you can be for the retail rush.

Again, the only efficient way of doing this is digitally. A complete and continually inventory of your store, whether virtual or bricks-and-mortar, is only possible online.

5. Communicate Key Dates

To ready your staff for the festive season rush, you need to continue communicating appropriate dates to all employees. The retail environment is as competitive as ever with deals being offered on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and almost every date in between and in the run up to the final shopping days.

As consumers get savvier about hunting out the best deal, the seasonal rush doesn’t always have set boundaries anymore. Some consumers will still prefer to visit stores to do their shopping, whilst others will do it all online.

Either way, retailers must keep their staff alert to which days they expect there to be higher footfall or online traffic. Again, a Chat function or communal online calendar will help keep your staff informed.


Moving Forward During the Busy Holiday Season

The busy festive retail season can be a stressful time for both consumers and retailers. That’s why OurPeople is on hand to help by assisting you with all your communication needs. By using the OurPeople communication platform you can communicate to your entire company, reaching everyone, whether it is with customer information, key dates, hot products, inventory levels, staff schedules or training guides.

And you’ll be celebrating the holidays instead of stressing over them. Happy holidays in advance!