August 20, 2014

Gearing Your Business Up for the Holiday Rush

The holiday rush is just a few weeks away — what is your business doing to prepare? Whether you offer merchandise through an e-commerce store, or software services and products, most every business sees a jump in sales during this time of year. Here’s your starter guide to gear up for sales like you’ve never seen before!

Beef Up Phone Personnel

Every business needs a way to handle incoming sales calls, as well as manage questions people have before making a purchase, or after the sale, when they need help setting up and using your product. Be sure to provide all phone answerers with thorough training; or, better yet, invest in a business telephone answering service and let the vendor handle personnel and training issues. Don’t miss calls just because your callers don’t speak English. Invest in a Spanish answering service so your business can capitalize on immigrant consumers.

Make Arrangements for Shipping

Now is the time to shop for a carrier and negotiate with them for the best shipping prices. This is easier if all of your shipments weigh about the same amount, but most carriers will negotiate with any business and offer great deals in exchange for exclusive shipping rights. Do not assume your business is too small to negotiate — the USPS, UPS, FedEx and other carriers are in hot competition, and are almost always willing to cut you a break to get the edge over the others.

Offer Only What You Can Deliver

When marketing your holiday sales and specials, don’t make promises you can’t keep. Last year, a number of online retailers ended up with bad press due to missing shipment deadlines. Talk to your warehouse personnel, supply chain manager, and sales staff, and be realistic when offering customer deals. A customer is only happy with a good deal when he subsequently gets the product on time for the price he was promised.

Get any outsourcing you need to manage the holiday rush, now. Vendors won’t have time to meet your requirements if you wait until next month to hire a call center or need a new supplier.