How to Prepare and Manage Retail Staff for Seasonal Demand
Some businesses record daily sales while others have seasonal demand. These businesses with seasonal demand require proper management. Also, the entire retail staff will need to cooperate to handle seasonal demand.
To help you be effective as the HR manager of a company with seasonal demand, we have written the best tips to prepare and manage your retail team.
What is Seasonal Demand in Business?
It is all about businesses that sell products or services only needed at a particular time of the year. For example, retail companies sell winter clothing. Demand for heavy clothing is seasonal. But when that time comes, the rush is incredible. Therefore, you must be prepared to help your retail team handle sales effectively.
Seasonal demand may sound like a business hurdle, but it is not. Many companies have been able to leverage the situation to earn more money. They diversify their interests. This also means there are some advantages of seasonal demand.
How HR Managers Can Leverage Seasonal Demand
The good thing is you gain more experience during seasonal demand. This experience also comes from the planning stage. That means, for the next season, you will be better prepared to take meet customers' needs. Here are the top tips to make the best out of the situation.
You should know the ways to leverage seasonal demand in your company. This information will help you preparing and manage your retail team when the time comes.
- Proper Understanding of the Sales Cycle
The recurring rush period every season allows you to study the sales cycle. You can do this for the different products your company sells. When you have a good understanding of the sales cycle, you can make strategic recruitments. This means you find employees who can deliver the best results for particular products during seasonal demand.
You can get information about the products' sales cycle from previous records. These should be records from the last season. If you find it difficult, there are innovative tools for the task. Don't hesitate to use them.
- Observing Predictable Sales Trends
Make notes of predictable trends. Some trends happen again during seasonal demand. This repetition means you can make better plans for the upcoming seasonal demand. Then it would be best if you discussed them with your retail team leaders. This action helps with preparations for seasonal demand.
- Improving Repeat Sales Volume
Observing seasonal demand records allows you to identify repeat sales. You can calculate the income. Then use this information to strategize to restock, advertise and earn more money.
- Higher Profit
Overall, the tips above aim to help you increase revenue. You can help your retail team deliver a higher income for the company.
Challenges Caused by Seasonal Demand
Some challenges may occur during seasonal demand, but it is nothing to worry about. You can leverage tested methods to go through it successfully.
- Inadequate Retail Staff Training
It would help if you encouraged the company's executives to invest in staff training. This is essential because the rush can overwhelm poorly trained retail workers. Also, it is best to train employees in stages. This allows them to understand the best seasonal demand management methods thoroughly.
- Work Stress
The rush during seasonal demand can be stressful. Over time, this can reduce productivity. Stressed workers may not handle customer issues properly.
- No Work/Life Balance
When employees cannot find a balance, they make difficult choices. These choices are never good for the company because it involves a compromise- work or family.
- Mass Resignation
Retail employees may react to harsh working conditions and pressure by leaving the company. This isn't good. You may then have a shortage in your workforce. That is not a good experience for HR managers.
Preparing Retail Staff for Seasonal Demand
Here are the best tips for HR managers anticipating seasonal demand-
Hire More Employees
This is a smart move, even if you already have a team. You need a small reserve who can learn and become the next winning team. Hiring more employees will make up for any emergencies that prevent an employee from coming to work.
Encourage Flexibility in the Workplace
Working in retail usually means employees may need to perform various duties. It is therefore essential that your team can work effectively in different capacities. Also, please encourage them to take on different tasks when they can. This helps the team during intense seasonal demand. Encouraging flexibility goes a long way to boosting employee confidence.
Your retail team should know what is coming. You should schedule frequent sessions to explain all that is involved. These sessions provide an opportunity to answer questions. You can also explain why everyone must be on board. Having a common goal makes it easier to go through a period of intense seasonal demand.
Create a Calendar
A calendar helps you keep tabs on the events. You can make proper plans when you know the trends and the approaching seasonal demand period. Be sure to review the calendar to ensure it is updated. Also, you should go over the dates for specific timelines if you have scheduled training programs. You can properly execute the plan to help your retail staff handle the pressure during the rush period by following a calendar.
Study Previous Reviews
You can leverage reviews from the past business season in many ways. First, you should put in place excellent data collection systems. This allows you to get accurate feedback from your company's customers. Then a few months before the seasonal rush starts, study customer feedback. Don't forget to share your thoughts with the retail team. It would help if you also involved every staff that contributes to sales and the company's goals. An excellent way to share your thoughts is by sending generalized emails. Also, ask for their opinion about the plan to handle the oncoming sales rush.
Highlight Sales Focus
Basically, you will observe that some products sell faster than others from sales trends. These products should be the main focus. However, your retail staff may not realize that. So, you can help them by pointing out the fast-moving products. If necessary, organize training sessions to help them push these products to customers. Then, they can leverage the fast-selling products to sell to others. This is called bundled sales. It works perfectly if done well. Some training sessions should equip your team with skills to bundle related products as suggestions to customers.
Open a Suggestion Box
While the frenzy is building, many people will develop ideas. Sadly, these ideas may fade away if the employees do not have a way to express themselves. That is why you should consider adding a suggestion box to the plan. Anyone can walk up to it and drop written notes. You and the HR team should prioritize checking the box, studying, and acting on information gathered.
Study Previous Seasonal Demand Experiences
This is an excellent approach to boosting your plans. You can identify weaknesses and mistakes that happened last time. Next, your team can analyze the situation to understand why those things happened. After deriving solutions, you should implement them properly. This will ensure your retail team does not repeat those mistakes.
Secure Funding to Boost Your Plans
The whole planning process indeed seems like a lot of work. You are right if you think so. In addition, it will require a significant budget. For example, you may need to pay experts to train your team and hire therapists to help retail staff who need professional support and other stuff. You should follow up with the top executives to ensure they understand the need for a budget. When it is approved, waste no time executing your plans. After receiving much money, you must ensure the retail team delivers excellent results.
One thing is certain; you cannot do it all independently. That is why you have a team. The retail staff needs all the help they can get to handle the rush sales. It happens only during a particular season, so the results must be excellent. You should identify the best people to handle several duties. Choose team members who can work and deliver outstanding results without needing monitoring. Their efficiency helps you save time and to meet deadlines. However, you should make plans to set milestones. With these milestones, you can confirm your team can deliver good results while handling the tasks you gave them.
Managing the Retail Team
We know the employees may need to work twice as much during the seasonal demand period. Many HR managers think it will be a good experience. They are only right about that if their team handles the process well. It all depends on how well you can manage the retail team.
The good thing is that if you do it properly, your retail team will understand the process over time. Then you won't need to do much to help them achieve outstanding sales results.
Here are excellent tips to help you manage the retail staff during the rush sales that season:
Create a Support Group
At some point during the rush to meet customers' demands, some staff will need to talk. There should be a support group for that purpose. You can also encourage them to use the ranting pot. This is where they talk about frustrations and get advice and support from others. Putting such a system in place will help them feel better and more resilient at work.
One on One Interaction
In addition to creating a support group for the retail team handling seasonal demand, you should also be available to talk. If physical meetings are not possible, you should create reliable virtual channels. One-on-one interactions allow the retail staff to tell you things they won't speak about publicly. You can help them overcome challenges this way. Overall, you all have one goal, so you are all in it together.
Make and Monitor Performance Report Boards
Keeping records in the workplace is excellent. The next best thing is allowing your staff knows their performance.
You will help them identify weaknesses and strengths this way.
Listen to Everyone
The seasonal demand period is usually a hectic time in the company. Since you won't be constantly available, you should delegate one of your HR staff to listen to employees. These are feedback-gathering sessions to analyze situations and help them be more effective.
Inform the retail team you are interested in getting feedback from them. Creating this awareness helps them to be intentional about their interactions with customers. They will do their best to gather the feedback you need to work with. In such a situation, you should be open about your motives.
Making Quick Decisions and Actions
When you are sure about an idea or information, you should act quickly. This goes a long way to increase the retail staff's confidence in your ability as an HR manager. Try to be focused on common goals with a fair approach. This means you should look out for everyone's interests.
Introduce a Reward System
You can keep your retail team motivated to do more by offering rewards. They are most likely on overdrive during the seasonal sales rush, and many will question the purpose. If they cannot find a good reason to cope with the stress, you may observe that they lose interest in pushing for the goal. However, introducing a reward system keeps them involved.
Ensure Everyone is Paid Early
While the retail team is pushing limits to meet high customer demands, the payroll managers must be equally efficient. Even with their busy schedules, the employees have bills to pay and other plans for their income. Therefore, it is fair to ensure they get paid early. These payments should include all bonuses, pay for extra hours, and other benefits.
We can all agree that money is a good motivation for staff. It would help if you leveraged it to push the company's interests.
There is no clearly defined approach to prepping your retail team for intense seasonal demand. This is so because companies sell different products and services.
The best approach is by leveraging previous experiences. It would help if you found more ways to improve on your strengths. Also, plug all loopholes to prevent mistakes. Overall, keep trying strategic approaches and focus on what works.