“December holiday” trade started in November. As ridiculous as it might sound, but it’s true. This year everything seems out of balance. Business wise, some business models are in recovery mode while others have sadly closed down. With an eye on the immediate future there are a few things we need to consider.
It is December month and people will spend.
It’s the festive season and even though we have all had a rough time people cannot wait to get some sense of normality. What better way to do so than having a great December. For the retail, service and tourism sector this means money. With one considerable difference, the money will be local. We will be servicing more South Africans and home town residents than usual. Not everyone will be traveling to go on holiday and we will have far less international visitors than before. So you will need to keep it exciting for your locals. Come up with a few ideas to invigorate your business look, service and offering. You do not need to spend large amounts of money to make a difference here.
Keep an Eye on the Atmosphere.
Saying that the majority of people are slightly irritated might be an understatement. You will need to keep a close eye on service and delivery. It is a fact that you cannot keep everyone happy all the time but you can definitely do your best to try. Customers don’t mind waiting to be served when you are busy but you need to acknowledge their presence. It will only take a few seconds to greet them and make them feel at home. Remember, there is nothing that gets to a customer worse than waiting around or not receiving a service without a good explanation. My personal experience as a customer – If I need to wait, then tell me why and how long. Then, it’s up to me to decide if I am willing to wait. The same applies with delivering a service. If you can’t, at least give me other options or recommend other agents.
With new reports of Covid coming along to spoil our fun again social distancing cannot be avoided. You need to have a plan to manage this. I cannot even begin to imagine the chaos that awaits us. How do you manage social distancing with holiday makers all over? Here’s a tip, just do the best you can. Also, you must have some sort of plan in place. Customers need to clearly see and understand what is happening and what is expected of them. The best option is having a dedicated person explaining the process to customers. In a perfect world that would work great but not all business models can apply this concept. So ensure that you have the relevant signage in place. People are still very sensitive to this aspect. (Some people really care, some others wonder and then there are real hardy folk) Handle people with care during this time.
Look after Yourself and Your Staff.
It is a no brainer that we all need to make as much money as we possibly can. This is not being greedy but rather a “comeback” as part of our lock down recovery. Don’t try to cheat people out of their money, rather give them a good reason to pay your asking price. This does not mean that you need to neglect yourself or your staff. I understand that in some business settings having a full lunch hour is just not possible when you have 5 staff members and 20 customers to assist. Here you will need to play it by ear and accommodate yourself and your staff when you can. This rush only lasts for a few days so make sure that your staff understand this and are prepared. Reward them with additional off time when the rush is over or incentivise their efforts in some way.
I love this. As a retail manager, to me this is the best time of the year. Feeling the festive joy, people having a good time and even the irritable shoppers that come with it. The days are filled with excitement and the working day flies by. Working in a target orientated business I obviously enjoy seeing the numbers at the end of each day. On the other hand this also raises a concern with me for the festive trade that awaits. How will all the aspects I mentioned affect trade this December.
You need not worry too much. It will soon come. We will do our best. We will make a success of it, and before we know it’s January 2021. Good luck to all the business owners and workers for this season’s trade.