The holiday season has come and gone, and now you are now dealing with the *nightmare* of Christmas past -- the organizing of decorations, returns on returns and leftover inventory. But, before you turn a Santa shade of red, keep breathing and consider our 10 "must-dos" for January 2015.
1. Take a second to breathe. You survived another holiday season. Whew!
2. Take an inventory. So many retailers overlook this, but taking a January inventory shouldn't be negotiable. Take out your scanning guns and get to work. (It won't take long.) It is important to start the year with a clean inventory and have an idea of what you actually have on-hand.
3. Get started with planning. Every month and every year you don't look critically at your inventory, you are missing huge opportunities...
4. Have a team meeting. Say "thank you" to your rock star employees that went the extra mile, this holiday season. Get their input on what worked well, and what didn't work as well. Take notes and save them in a place where you can reference them for holiday season 2015.
5. Make New Years resolutions...for the store. Set realistic, measurable goals. Whether they be sales goals, marketing goals, whatever goals -- set them for yourself, your staff and your store. Discuss them at a team meeting and consider steps for implementation and tracking. Don't let these goals be like every other New Years resolution. Follow through.
6. Clean-up. There is no doubt that the holiday season added some wear and tear to the store. Take some time to assess *damages* and start the cleanup process. It's amazing what some new signage or a fresh coat of paint can do to lift the store out of the winter dumps.
7. Use markdowns to your advantage. Stores view "markdown" as a dirty word. Three words...Get. Over. It.
8. Enter future on-order. By finally entering all your on-order that you placed months earlier, you can start to re-evaluate if you really need those 6 black dresses to come in, all in the same month.
**NOTE! When you start inventory management/ planning with Retail Concepts (see Step 3) we are going to ask you to do this very step. It's super important to see how much you are bringing in, and in what classifications, to see if orders need to be moved around, trimmed, or canceled.
9. Run a cash-flow report. Do an 8-month cash flow projection to make sure you can pay for all that on-order. Sure, your assortment on line sheets and in the computer may look beautiful, but you need to be able to pay for it...right?
10. Gear up for a great Q1. Scour Pinterest, trade publications, blogs and other media to find something great new lines for Q1, to help give you something other than holiday markdowns to talk about.
Use Retail Concepts and this top 10 list as your checklist to kickoff 2015 in style. We want to make 2015 a successful year for you in-store.
Here's to great New Year!