December 14


Last Minute Retail Holiday Plans

By Jana Hassett

December 14, 2020

Small Business

Last Minute Holiday Sales Plan Adjustment –

There’s no way to know what these last-minute shoppers will be allowed to do, and every state will be different.  So many of our small businesses depend on the late shopper and impulse purchases.

There a couple of approaches you might take to keep your year from being a total bust.

Inventory Optimization

Go through and analyze your inventory.  If your store is online, be sure the inventory count is correct for each item. If one item is inventory heavy, consider a last-minute sale (for pickup only).  Use it as a loss-leader email to invite last minute sales. But remember, shipping deadlines are much earlier this year, so plan for curbside or instore – whatever you can do.

Reassess Customer Communications

Now that you might have pickup/curbside service for last minute shoppers, you might want to check your online information.  Do you need to provide clear communications for specific procedures?  Do you have a map on your website showing customers where to park? Is this the time to add a “chat bot” to your website to help with the questions?

Hiring For Peak

Reassess your staffing, if you have employees, and determine if you have enough help to cover.  If a resurgence in COVID-19 occurs, the likelihood of having to operate during peak with fewer people than normal is a big possibility.  Brainstorm how you’ll cover this, so you won’t get caught off-guard.


How you manage returns can be a big selling point for loyal customers. There are three ways to offer them: normal in-store returns, curbside drop off, and contactless returns.  If you are closed, consider extending the return dates until you reopen.  You could have a register process where the customer signs up for notice when the store reopens in order to return their item.  Whatever way you determine will work for your establishment, make it easy and clear to your customer what your expectations are.

Double Check Your Website

Be sure you  double-check your website that it works smoothly, and the sales process completes.  Nothing turns customers away faster than a poor website.  What your customers expect is:

  • Your website loads quickly
  • You have a search box available to quickly locate an item
  • Your shopping cart works correctly, and
  • You have updated your cart for curbside/store pickup only after the shipping deadline has passed. You might want to place a banner notice/popup on your home page that notes there is only pickup so customers don’t get all the way through the sales process only to discover they can’t have it shipped.

Whatever you do to maximize your sales these last two weeks, make it obvious these changes have been made to adjust to the COVID-19 restrictions, and you look forward to having them visit your store or website in the future.  Invite them to sign up for notices of what’s changed, new product and maybe a coupon to use at Valentine’s Day, depending on your market. 

Let them know how much you appreciate their business and wish them a Merry Christmas/Happy Holiday. 

That goes for me, as well.  I appreciate your time reading my blog and together we can move forward into 2021.  And remember to take care of you so you can take care of your customers and family.

Wishing you health, peace and prosperity.


Jana Hassett

About the author

Retired Congressional Aide, Coach, Mentor and Grant Writer, Jana advocates for everyone having an elevator speech. She currently serves as Business Coach for the Ms. Biz program at the Women's Business Center of Utah, Cedar City. She's been writing blogs since 2006 and enjoys journaling.
"Passing It On" is her WHY, in honor of all those that mentored and guided her journery over the years.

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