The swelter of summer has barely subsided, which makes it the perfect time to start your holiday planning. We know what you’re thinking: it starts earlier and earlier every year. But for beauty and fitness professionals, holiday prepping in advance will get you through your busiest time of year without breaking a sweat! No matter how much planning you put in, it’s sure to be a crazy time for you and your staff. But by getting a head start, no matter what curve balls the holiday crunch throws your way, you’ll handle it with style. Here’s how to minimize the chaos the holidays bring about and make sure this year is your busiest one ever!

1. Order Gift Cards Early

In the time it takes between ordering, shipping, and delivery of gift cards, you might be missing out on sales! To avoid holiday design and shipping delays, give your business a head start by ordering your holiday gift cards in September. Not sure how many gift cards you’ll need? A great rule of thumb is to pull last year’s sales report, review your gift card sales totals, and then add 10% to give yourself a margin of error. To prevent having holiday backstock gift cards, keep your design holiday-agnostic, and go with your business branding logo and colors. Then, throughout autumn downtime, you can create seasonal packaging like holiday-themed envelopes and gift boxes, keeping your gift-cards sale-ready, even after the holiday season ends.

Pro Tip: Set up a dedicated station to exclusively handle gift card sales and use the Vagaro iPad App to quickly check people out.

2. Make Sure You’ve Got Enough Staff for Walk-Ins and Check-Outs

If your business is primarily booth renters, you might want to hire a seasonal staffer to handle retail sales for a few hours on weekends or high-volume days. To accommodate walk-ins, make sure you’ve got your booking limitations set and your waitlist feature enabled. You may even want to take on a seasonal apprentice or newly licensed service professional to cover seasonal walk-in customers. In salons and spas, you can take on seasonal staff as “floaters” who move through the shop with the business iPad to check out or re-book clients while their service is processing. Both customers and busy service professionals will appreciate the extra minutes an expedited check-out provides!

Pro Tip: Going into the season, pull last year’s sales and services reports to review and figure out what your peak days were last year. That way, you can project the days you’ll want to make sure you’ve got some extra staff scheduled to handle walk-in traffic and busy checkouts.

3. Stock Your Online Store for the Holidays

Modern shoppers start their holiday purchasing online, and beauty and fitness businesses aren’t an exception! Since you already know customers will be visiting your website to book holiday services, make sure your online store is stocked to sell! Make sure that you add gift cards to your store for easy online purchase (that can even be digitally delivered!) Then, re-arrange your store pages to show seasonal packages and holiday best-sellers. The easier you make it for customers to find great gifts from your business, the less likely they’ll be to shop an online superstore. For gyms, fitness centers, and specialized studios, prepare to see an increase in memberships and start planning on how your business will handle retention efforts with new customers.

Pro Tip: Try creating a marketing campaign to run throughout the holiday season, so customers feel rewarded for shopping with you. Ideas might include a free $20 gift card with purchase of $100 in gift cards, or a free product of their choice with the purchase of $100 in retail.

4. Stay on Top of Inventory

During the holidays, it’s a given that you’ll sell seasonal gift packages and gift cards. But think back to last year. Were there any hot sellers that surprised you? Any products you’d thought would be fast-movers that fizzled instead of sizzled in the sales department? Early fall is when you should pull and review your sales and services reports from the previous year’s holiday season. This report provides a heat map of which days you were busiest, how many walk-ins you accommodated, and what kind of services were getting booked. But it also shows sale-by-sale insights for what your customers want. Then you can pull a more recent sales report and compare your figures. Then you can make sure that whatever products are trending in your store right now are on hand, as well as stocking last year’s hot sellers.

Pro Tip: Make sure to adjust your low product warnings and minimum quantities for increased holiday sales. Try pulling a sales report from last year’s holiday season to project this year’s sales so you won’t be left empty-handed if there’s a rush on a product!     

5. Push Pre-Booking for Services and Classes

For beauty professionals, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve are full-tilt boogie, while for fitness professionals, January is the busiest time of year. Whichever industry you’re in, you know how hectic it can get with customers and clients trying to get scheduled last-minute. Pre-booking services and classes will help you keep your sanity and your business booming! Starting in September, begin asking clients if they want to pre-book for the holidays. Explain to them that pre-booking means they’ll get first pick of the schedule, instead of what’s left over, hoping the last-minute waitlist opens up.

Pro Tip: Use email marketing to send out bi-weekly holiday pre-booking reminders to clients and add pre-booking information to automated confirmations of appointments scheduled before the holidays.

Your Early Planning Checklist for a Stress- Free Holiday Season!

Get holiday ready with Vagaro! Order your gift cards and additional POS equipment today & be ready for the holiday rush!

Header image: Giorgio Trovato via Vagaro

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