The build up to Christmas is well under way, and just beyond that we’ll see the January sales kick in. Within the retail sector this is the busiest time of the year, with hordes of shoppers entering stores in person and visiting retail websites. Everyone is looking for the best deal they can find, and they all want the highest quality of product from a retail store that they can trust, and one that provides them with customer service delivered with a smile at all times.

For retail store managers now is the time to start implementing all of the thorough plans for preparation for this busiest and most frantic time of year. Whether you are a store manager, a sales person on the floor, or at the tills, a regional manager or company director, you’ll learn a lot about your own strengths and weaknesses at this time of year. There will only be a couple of days (if that) between the Christmas rush and the post-Christmas/January sales, which these days tend to start immediately after Christmas is finished. One approach to fully preparing your store (or stores) for the season ahead is to conduct a full and thorough retail audit. A retail audit can help you create a strong foundation from which you can improve sales and become aware of the specific weaknesses that need to be addressed. It also provides you with the perfect time to restock, plan ahead for the types of specific products you are likely to sell and implement any security processes and protocols to prevent loss of stock and theft in-store.

A retail audit will help you realise the types of stock that you are likely to need. It pinpoints areas of stock that are too high and don’t need replenishing, and also areas where you might be running low. Understanding the seasonal products and where your store has performed well in the past will help you to plan accordingly for the upcoming Christmas sales. A retail audit can therefore help you cut waste, improve costs and improve sales as a result.

Another aspect of a retail audit that can massively help your store in the run up to Christmas and January is the ability to understand the threat of theft during this important season. Loss prevention should be a key aspect of your store strategy, and a retail audit can pinpoint the weak aspects of your store and the operation on a daily basis. Refresher training courses relating to security are a good idea for staff in the run up to the busy Christmas period. Your staff should be fully aware of what to look out for in terms of suspicious behaviour, understand the protocols to follow if someone does look suspicious and know how to resolve an issue where there is a suspected (or confirmed) shoplifter in store. It is all about creating a culture of understanding in terms of stock levels, theft prevention and understanding the many complex, and busy, layers of a retail store at this time of year.

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