If you are like everybody else, you like to see higher sales. If that’s the case, the fourth quarter is for you! Across many different types of retail industries, including thrift, the fourth quarter tends to be the strongest sales quarter.
In order to maximize this opportunity, you need to make sure your team and your store are ready. Now is the time to start making the right preparations for the final push of the year.
Here are some matters to think through in order to ensure you are ready to have your best quarter ever:
Staffing consistently tends to be one of the hardest challenges in thrift. If you are planning on having higher sales, then you are going to need more people.
With more people coming through your doors means more people to greet, more transactions for cashiers, more product needed on your store floor. Ultimately all of those tasks require staff.
How would your staffing change if you stopped seeing staff only as an expense, but also as an investment that should in turn help you make more money?
Before the fourth quarter arrives spend some time evaluating your current employment gaps and start with posting jobs and using other resources, connections, etc. to find quality candidates. To build up a staff, hiring must be prioritized and then a positive work environment valued in order to retain high quality, valuable workers.
In the thrift industry, two of the most important processes are your donation receiving and donation sorting processes.
Donors are your MVPs; without them you wouldn’t have product to sell at your thrift store. Therefore when receiving their donation, make sure to treat them and their donated items with the utmost care and appreciation. However, you must provide this type of interaction while quickly and efficiently receiving the donation.
In order to sell more items in your thrift store, more items need to be available to customers. An efficient and effective donation sorting process is crucial to making sure your shelves will be properly stocked to take advantage of a fourth quarter surge.
In your current donation receiving and donation sorting processes, where are your weaknesses and inefficiencies? How could addressing these issues lead to increased sales?
A great problem to have, but nevertheless a challenge, is an abundance of donations. As the season changes and holidays arrive, more people will be looking to clean out their closets and homes thus making a great opportunity to increase your donation supply.
How your team handles and responds to being overwhelmed by an abundance of donations will drastically impact your bottom line. If you are receiving a lot of donations, make sure you have the proper staff in place to receive and process the donations.
A challenge we often see mishandled is to stop receiving or limit the receiving of donations. These donations are future sales that you are missing out on. If need be, consider acquiring storage options. If the items you store are more valuable than the expense of the storage, then you are making money.
If you have been effectively using and analyzing your metrics, the fourth quarter is the time to put that analysis to use. Capturing quality metrics help you better understand your thrift business and thus can make educated, informed decisions on how to maximize output and thus sales.
If you are not using metrics, start planning on how to train your team to capture quality, usable data. We recommend using ThriftTrac for capturing, storing, and analyzing your data.
Capturing metrics will help you best take advantage of opportunities such as an increase in customer foot traffic during the fourth quarter.
What opportunities are you hoping to maximize and how can data help you long-term seize those moments?
We hope this will help you and your thrift team be prepared for and realize the best quarter in the history of your thrift store. Be sure to take the lessons learned and capture the momentum from a strong close to the year, to help you Do Thrift Better all of the following year.