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Small Business Center: Plan for the holidays

— We are quickly approaching that time of year. As the sun reflects on the morning frost, perhaps the glistening sparkles will inspire local small business owners to think, “I need to prepare for the best holiday season yet!”

One of the first things to consider is to prepare your holiday inventory. While candy cane mugs or other holiday themed merchandise may get your customer in the holiday spirit, this inventory has a short shelf life and become obsolete on Dec. 25. Unless you’re a retailer that specializes in holiday theme merchandise year-round, limit purchasing this type of product. Do add inventory that is considered gift items but keep to your core business concept. Your holiday gift inventory should reflect your business

concepts and price point.

Reflect on what are your top selling three or four items from past performance. Many times, these are the same items people will choose to give as gifts so stock these items accordingly for additional purchases.

Since holiday decorations takes up valuable floor space and display space, incorporate your merchandise in your holiday decor. Not only is this a clever way to merchandise it also draws attention to your product. In order that holiday décor is not disturbed by browsing, have a supply of the same merchandise displayed close by for purchase.

If possible, increase sales staff and extend your holiday hours for this shopping season. It is essential to train staff regarding key items and get them familiar with locations since holiday décor may require merchandise to be moved. A well-prepared staff is a reflection of you and your business.

Help set the tone for a festive holiday season. Offer your holiday shoppers a cup of coffee and a cookie, or some other holiday treat. Let them see how special they are to you and make new customers feel welcome. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the activity the holiday season brings. If you and your staff are enjoying the season, chances are your customers will enjoy shopping with you all the more.

Our staff at the Columbia Gorge Small Business Development Center is here to help you with your plans. Feel free to contact a counselor to help support the fine tuning of your marketing plan this season.

Rose Mays, Program Specialist



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