It’s October, the fourth quarter (Q4) is upon us, and for B2C industries it’s about the time to prepare for the year-end crowds. Time to start thinking about annual budgeting, staffing, and scheduling.
Between the school break and Christmas, many businesses in the F&B, retail, beauty, and services sector will see a rise in patronage, however if you’re just starting out, you will need a firm plan to leverage the holiday season.
We’ve got you covered with this handy checklist of what you need to do for Q4, and even beyond!
- Planning ahead – marketing, accounting
It’s important to have a plan for the end of the year. You’ll want to consider which marketing strategies will be most effective for any promotions or campaigns you want to run, and if they align with your accounting goals.
The end of the year is also the best time to engage your team in strategic conversations and evaluate the impact of the pandemic and the economic downturn, identify challenges, and lay out goals before 2023 begins. That’s because, in Q4, this is when your business focuses on the year-end reporting date – from preparing tax statements to payroll to audits. There is no other time of the year when such an alignment occurs, creating a unique opportunity for discovery and intelligence gathering.
Lastly, plan your clients’ gifts, cards, and staff bonuses: Do not wait until it’s too late to thank your clients, vendors, and your team. Instead, start preparing now for how to thank and recognise people who make your company a success.
- Preparing your staff
First, ensure your team knows what kind of customer service is expected during this time of year. The goal is to make customers feel welcome, not rushed or pressured into spending their money. Then ensure that your employees know how to handle holiday shoppers politely and professionally—and how to deal with those who are not being so polite.
Second, ensure they’re ready for the increased workload. If your employees need to get used to working long hours on short notice, now is the time to start training them! They’ll need to be able to handle a lot more customers than usual, so give them the chance to practice their skills before you need them in action.
Thirdly, ensure your team understands why they’re getting paid more during Quarter 4: it’s stressful work and requires extra effort from everyone involved!
Your staff should be able to do their jobs at their most efficient levels. For example, long queues to enter a restaurant, followed by a long waiting time for food to arrive, can lead customers to lose patience. Your staff will also feel stressed trying to attend to every customer’s request. Moreover, if you’re using a food delivery partner’s system, you must manage different terminals, piling on to their employees’ stress.
So consider efficient systems such as Qashier’s integrated POS system, which allows you to manage different food delivery partners on the same terminal. It also caters to QR code ordering and even split bill features, so your staff does not have to wait at the table for large groups to order or pay!
While this applies to food and beverage businesses such as restaurants and cafes, it also applies to retail shops. The lengthy wait at the cash register is hugely frustrating for staff and customers alike, especially when there is a long list of orders. Cut your staff’s workload by investing in an efficient smart point of sale(POS) system so you can also optimise your sales.
Finally, make sure that your employees know what they’re responsible for, who they need to contact if something goes wrong or needs more attention than usual (such as suppliers), and how long each task will take them so they can plan accordingly.
- Festival promotions: Yay or nay?
For many businesses, the end of the year is a good time to empty your inventory and make way for new products in the new year. So make time to do your stock-taking, and promote or discount excess products.
This might be a tempting time to capitalise on the holiday season and all its shopping opportunities. Still, as a business owner, you’ll have to weigh some of the pros and cons of product pricing during the holidays.
Considering that last year’s forecast for Christmas spending in Singapore was SGD$1 billion, it is a good idea to start planning promotional sales if you want to increase Quarter 4 revenue. Besides, year-end bonuses are an excellent time for spa and beauty salons to offer bundled deals for customers who will need to look their best for corporate parties, family dinners, dinner dates, and so on. If you have customers already on your email list, this is a great time to reach out and offer discounts or promotions to keep them engaged with your business for another year or so.
When it comes to Christmas shopping, with borders opening up, many people in Singapore might take the opportunity to go overseas, especially during the school holidays. But even so, there will also be tourists and people who are in town and ready to spend money! They’ll be looking for gifts, wrapping paper, and everything else they can find. You can count on people making last-minute purchases if they forget something.
The challenge, however, is to ensure that if you hold festive sales, you are aware of the long-term goals of pricing psychology, especially if you are bundling products. Pricing psychology suggests that this increases short-term demand but reduces consumption! For example, a Harvard Business Review study showed that customers who bought an individual product perceived they paid more and would be more likely to use the product. So if your business intends to encourage long-term consumption, it makes sense that customers who feel they paid more will feel a stronger urge to try the products due to the perceived value. They then will want to return to buy more of these items if they have tried them and like them.
However, according to the study, if products are bundled together, customers perceive that they are paying less and might use the product less once it’s purchased. For instance, if it’s a gift, they are likely to leave your product aside instead of trying it, or they might even return it to the store.
- Preparing your website and other social media channels for Q4
Lastly, this is also an excellent time to prepare your online sales channels for Quarter 4. As a report by Straits Times has shown that almost three-quarters of consumers in Singapore use social media to find and evaluate products, many more are using online platforms to make their purchases. These statistics show that consumers spend more online than in person at brick-and-mortar stores.
To address this demand, ensure your business is ready for all types of customers by optimising your website for mobile devices. But brick-and-mortar stores will still draw customers who are looking for the store experience of trying new products and experiences. So it’s crucial to have a way to align inventory across online and offline sales.
Qashier presents an integrated solution to get you ready for Quarter 4
Whether you are an F&B business, a retail shop or in the beauty industry, you’ll need a reliable business solution to optimise sales.
Especially with Quarter 4, you’ll want to take advantage of the festive mood to increase your earnings, eliminate excess inventory, and thank your customers by giving them discounts and promotions!
Qashier’s smart POS presents an integrated solution to meet all kinds of business needs with multiple digital solutions, including QR code payments, employee management, customer relationship management (loyalty programs), inventory management, data analytics, and cashless payments, all in one terminal.
Qashier promises a seamless setup within 10 minutes, without any need for technical expertise. It boasts a user-friendly interface that is simple for anyone to learn and use. If you require assistance, you’ll find 7-days-a-week responsive technical support from our friendly Qashier team.
One Qashier POS solution comes with integrated payment processing. With just one terminal, you’ll be able to accept an array of payment types, from major credit cards, e-wallets and EFTPOS. Speak to us to see how Qashier Smart POS can meet your business needs. Schedule a meeting with us here, or reach out via email [email protected].