Q4 Game Plan: A Guide for Retailers

by Robert Gibbon

Summer is here and it’s the height of baseball season. In a sense, retail planning for Q4 is like a baseball team trying to make the playoffs: if you don’t get your game plan together now, you might be the losing team. It’s easy to think that the last quarter of the year is far off, but time flies by and before you know it, Black Friday is here. There’s no time like the present to start securing budgets, laying out strategies and looking at a hiring partner for the holiday sales season to come.

According to the National Retail Foundation (NRF), holiday retail sales during November and December 2016 increased 4 percent over 2015 to $658.3 billion, due to a strengthening economy. The number includes $122.9 billion in non-store sales, which were up 12.6 percent over the year before.

Which is why it’s also important to make sure your online presence is top notch as well. Did you know that your website can be setup to prompt a chat with trained employees who can easily answer a shopper’s technical feature questions? We offer this kind of consultative sales function and so much more.

Our handy Q4 game plan below will guide you through the summer and help you become sales champions as fall and winter arrive.

Adjusting Your Lineup: Hiring

When:  July

Every good team makes some strategic roster changes over the summer. Time to start looking at bringing in top talent to fill in the gaps during the most competitive time of the year. Believe it or not, the US labor market has changed resulting in higher employee turnover, rising wages, and unfilled openings. This can be done with in-store and online chat and support staff.

Practice Makes Perfect: Training

When: August

Now that you have your new team recruits signing on, it’s a great time to invest in training programs for all store associates. You’ll be building team spirit as well as their skillset.

Developing talent in late Summer provides time for thorough product training and brand awareness that will lead to top results during the holiday season. Retailers that begin training seasonal staff in August are ensuring that their new employees are up to speed on products and brand messaging. They will be fully equipped with the skills to focus on generating sales in Q4.

Play to Win: Selling

When: September

September means you, like a baseball team, are in the playoffs and Q4 is upon you: The World Series of Sales. If you’ve built your team and put in the time and effort to train them properly, your in-store and online sales staff should be a well-oiled machine, fully capable of answering questions on the hottest products and make recommendations based on the customer’s needs.

As brands continue to become more competitive, the start of the holiday selling season keeps getting pushed up earlier and earlier. In fact, most retail experts will tell you to look at it as Black November, as it has become a month-long series of promotions.

If you want to win, you can’t wait until August or September to execute your Q4 strategy. Signing top talent at competitive rates must start now! Contact us to find out how we can help you build a winning retail marketing strategy going into Q4.

Topic: Retail

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert Gibbon, vice president of retail channel sales, is responsible for the overall strategic direction and execution of our retail channel services portfolio by building and managing programs for our diverse clients, including start ups to fortune 50 clients in the CE, telecom, finance, MSP, and home improvement industries. He helps our clients exceed their sales goals, elevate their brands, and win in the marketplace.

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