Deck the Halls with Gourmet Popcorn - Holiday Retail Prep
Preparing Your Gourmet Popcorn Shop for the Holiday Retail Season
Holiday retail sales were 4.9% higher in 2017 than in 2016, with the highest results early in the season and during last-minute shopping – meaning, realistically, that retailers need to be on top of their game for all of November and December.
This applies to you as a gourmet popcorn shop or candy store owner as well. Your business has the opportunity to attract holiday shoppers looking for gifts as well as those who could use a pick-me-up treat for themselves. Make sure you’re ready!
Make Your Shop Look the Part
A fun, easy, and essential part of welcoming holiday shoppers is your décor. Use greenery on your shelves and countertops and hang ornaments from the ceiling. If you’ve got room, put up a Christmas tree or two, and be thoughtful with your window displays. These are what will draw customers in to your store.
A given for popcorn shops, popcorn garlands should be incorporated wherever possible, and display holiday-colored popcorn – red and green of course. But also know your customer base: if you’re located in an area with a large population that celebrates other holidays besides Christmas, don’t leave them out. For example, a blue and white display for Hanukkah can help make Jewish shoppers feel welcome.
Get Your Staff Ready
Customer service is the most important part of providing a good holiday shopping experience to customers who are stressed and tired, and your employees’ readiness is critical.
The trick to making seasonal help work is to hire early before the rush. If you plan to hire temporary employees over the holidays, have them start as soon as possible, so they can be trained and up to speed before the season officially begins.
Communicate all sales and promotions to your staff so everyone is on the same page, and make sure each employee knows the limits they have on returns, appeasing customers, or haggling. Everyone should be familiar with all the products; be able to offer suggestions and answer questions; and be proficient at operating scales, cash registers, and other tools.
Triple Check Your Tech
If you have an online version of your store, keep tabs on it at all times. Online carts and checkouts should be functioning properly, and inventory should be updated frequently to avoid orders on out of stock items. Make policies clear between the channels – customers shouldn’t have to ask if in-store deals will be honored online and vice versa. Have someone available to fulfill online orders in a timely manner.
If you don’t yet offer online shopping, starting ecommerce for your popcorn shop can be a great idea – but consider delaying launch until after the holiday season unless you’re extremely confident in the functionality of your online shop. When you’re already busy with the holiday rush in your brick and mortar, it isn’t the best time to learn new processes and programs required for online selling. And a broken or neglected online store is worse than having none at all.
Make Gift Purchases Easy
From the planners who shop early to the last-minute procrastinators, everyone wants to find the perfect gift that’s simple. Create gift baskets that will appeal to multiple tastes. Definitely offer some holiday-themed recipes but also create some package options that don’t necessarily reflect the season: pair chocolate drizzled caramel corn with cheese corn, frosted nuts, and other items from local shops such as meats and cheeses. You should also customize gift baskets for those who’d like to create their own.
And don’t forget the value of a gift card, especially for last-minute harried shoppers. Display gift cards prominently near your checkout counter.
Do Your Best and Take Breaks
Finally, remember to take a deep breath. Your best is all you can do this holiday season. There will be missed opportunities for sales, and your staff will make mistakes, but if you’ve all prepared and committed to each other and the store, you’re in for a successful season. Give yourself and your employees breaks to rest in the midst of this hectic time.
If you need concession equipment service or to refresh your supplies before the season gets under way, contact Gold Medal to be sure you have the best going into the rush.