It’s Halloween—and that can only mean one thing—holiday decorations will be up in stores tomorrow! While we would love to debate why we go from All Hallows Eve straight to St. Nick—and when we started ignoring Thanksgiving—we’ll just embrace it. Here’s how corporate and retail teams can work together to have a successful holiday season.

The Retail Leader Mindset

Whether the holiday season is one that you look forward to or one that you endure (or both) , planning ahead will set your store up for success. As we’ve discussed previously, you’ve likely already begun your seasonal hiring; your inventory volume and velocity will increase; and your holiday promotions will kick in. You’ve spent time planning for the influx of people and product, and you know to expect the unexpected. Challenges aside, you want to make the holiday season as enjoyable as possible for yourself, your team members, and your customers.

The Corporate Mindset

Like the retail leader, your job gets more complex over the holiday season. Each store needs to receive directives on inventory shipments, holiday promotions, holiday decor, visual merchandising and any other seasonal updates such as a unique holiday dress code. You need to ensure the retail leaders not only receive the messaging but that they understand and communicate them to the rest of the retail team in a compelling way. You also know the holidays can be the most stressful season for the retail teams and want to help make them as enjoyable as possible.

Tis’ the season to collaborate

According to the NRF, 43% of shoppers will wait until November to start their holiday shopping—and given Amazon’s one-day shipping, last minute purchasing will only increase. Here’s how to ensure a smooth holiday shopping season.

  • The data tells a story. For stores and retail leaders who have already been through at least one holiday season, take a look at your comp data along with your current sales trends. If you have a ledger or other place where you keep notes on business trends, determine why certain traffic or sales spikes or dips occurred (weather impacts, street closures, events, promotions, etc.). You should also look at overarching market trends to prepare your store for how millennials and GenZ are approaching holiday shopping. This season 48% of shoppers say they will use buy-online-pickup-in-store. If your business offers this service, have a plan to address the influx of usage. The data also shows that younger shoppers will give gifts not only to family but to friends and co-workers as well. Train your team to ask “Who else is on your list?” to help fulfill all of their needs in one place.
  • Show up—with some cheer. Corporate teams will often send out an information packet, either digitally or physically, with everything the retail teams need to know for holiday. Though these are meant to be operationally focused, add a little cheer for the retail teams. Write notes to the stores with encouraging holiday messages on them, or send some holiday goodies that you know they’ll enjoy. Better yet, make an in-person appearance with those holiday goodies (maybe not fruitcake) and deliver your well-wishes in person. A small gesture like this can make a lasting impression on the retail teams.
  • Have a little fun. No matter where you are, have a little fun with your holiday contests. Corporate team members can get in on the action by setting up a friendly competition between the stores. Perhaps the store with the most sales one week can have their corporate team work in the store for a day, or the store that has the best gift wrapping (proven by photo evidence) gets free lunch courtesy of corporate. Store managers can create individual store incentives as well. Outside the standard monetary bonus incentives, stores can create store-specific bingo cards of items to sell or customer personas to help. The winning team member can receive a prize. There is plenty to do to help everyone enjoy their holiday.

There’s always something you can do to increase your Double//Vision.