6 Ways to Optimize Your Retail Sales This Holiday Season

For shoppers, seasonal retail is pure heaven—there’s a variety of deals and price reductions for high-ticket items, specialty products are finally in-stock and despite the lines and parking lot frenzy, buyers come with a list in hand—to find the best products (and deals) for their holiday gifting.

However, there is a driving force that makes all of the “mall magic” happen, and for many retail companies, if not properly planned, holiday season could truly be a Q4 nightmare. To bring more cheer into your organization (and into your revenue), adjusting to a few common issues can bring cheer instead of a lump of coal.

6 Challenges in Holiday Retail

To understand these ongoing challenges, and to better prepare for the coming months, Retail Practice Lead Mike Gergye, briefly explains six common hurdles in seasonal retail and how to handle them.


U.S. unemployment is at an eight-year low and has been cut in half during the last five years. Finding the right people this holiday will be more challenging than it has been in a decade. Regardless of your budget, bringing on the right people is worth the extra effort. Learn more about the benefits of maximizing seasonal labor spend this season and get the right team onboard this year.


During the holiday season, training is often the first casualty of an overburdened workforce. However, training plays a pivotal role in employee success. “Effective employee onboarding programs increase employee performance up to 11% over the first year, and discretionary effort increases by more than 20% when employees onboard effectively.” (USC, 2004)

Time of Transaction

The average retailer can see their traffic increase by up to 400% during the holiday selling season. That means your employees may need to deal with four times the customers in the same amount of time. Finding ways to increase employee effectiveness is pivotal to seasonal success.

Shopper Priorities

Holiday shopping is not a casual experience. The majority of shoppers know what they are looking to buy and try to rush through the transaction as quickly as possible. Thorough training for employees on your highest service priorities (and how to effectively demonstrate them) is paramount to driving profitability. Data shows that 27% of shoppers will make an impulse purchase during their holiday shopping. Will it happen in your store?


Getting the right employees into the right shifts at the right time is a pivotal part of any holiday selling success plan. 70% of shoppers want to interact with a sales associate and can spend 81% more on average when they do. The question is, will your staff be there when the customers are?

Loss and Fraud

Retail fraud in Q4 of 2015 was estimated to cost retailers 2.2 billion dollars. Taking the correct steps to adequately staff your locations and to ensure that you have the best people possible is a key component of minimizing this potential loss. Loss and fraud prevention should be of concern each year to recoup revenue and make stores safer.

Make This Season Bright

Each retailer’s needs are as unique as their season jobproduct offerings. When assessing your goals for this or future seasons, consider addressing your retail operation against the challenges above.

If your company’s bandwidth is low, finding a partner who can grow market share, maximize mature products, or increase ROI is a smart way to grow your business with limited hassle.