Here we go lads and lasses, the Easter long weekend is sprinting at us like a startled hare. So, what do you need to think about now before the long weekend hits you square in the face?

Different businesses will have different needs over the Easter holiday period – retail will have some hoops to jump, while online retailers will be more concerned with pulling in as much trade as possible.  Lets’ run through the basics to ensure you’re prepared …

Brick and mortar retail may have restricted trade

As you may be aware, the main difference between online trading and physical retail will be opening restrictions on public holidays.

The details on restricted trade will come down to your state. Many will involved rules around restricted hours or forced closures and can affect different businesses in a variety of ways. Make sure you know the rules that affect your business type.

Some states for example see the whole weekend as public holidays, some do not. Some types of businesses like pharmacies or fruit and veg shops can trade, but other retailers can’t. Get ahead of the rules now!

Staffing may need to be tweaked

Staffing will be affected of course too. This means:

  • Being aware of awards and public holiday pay entitlements
  • Getting on top of rostering – many may be away so have backups if you can
  • Using and rewarding your best staff when paying public holiday rates
  • There may be minimum shift requirements

As always, refer to the Fair Work Ombudsman and specific industry and role awards to be on top of the rules.

Easter trading tips!

Here are some sage trading tips to maximise cashflow and opportunity over the long weekend.

1) Look back a year

Look back to what happened last Easter in terms of trade, stock, cash flow etc. Your accounting software is a big help here. What story is the data telling you? Have you learnt any lessons?

  • What sold well?
  • What sold poorly?
  • What kind of turnover and stock levels did you encounter?
  • Did you waste money on expenses or stock you could have done without?
  • What were the busiest and slowest periods of the weekend?
  • Did you have enough staff, or too many?
  • Were your promotions successful?
  • Did you have system issues?
  • Could you meet demand?

The best way to predict what will happen this Easter will of course be to interrogate previous years. You can draw very reasonable predictions by looking backward. It’s not a perfect tactic, but it can really help you avoid wastage and boost your sales opportunities.

2) Get your stock right

Based on your review, you’ll now have a decent idea of what your stock levels should be sitting at.

It really comes down to two things – overstocking or understocking. Both are regrettable outcomes, but it can be a difficult task to get that balance right.

On one hand, blowing your capital on a bloated inventory that will languish in storage is a great way to destroy your cash flow and profits.

On the other, having an anaemic stock level that leaves you high and dry when orders come in will punish your profits and upset customers.

3) Your website and systems need to be in prime working condition

Customers are a fickle bunch. If your online shopping website is painfully slow or too hard to navigate, impatient shoppers will close their browser and you’ll miss a sale.

If you’re in a physical store and your eftpos goes down or orders go missing, your impression will be less than impeccable.

Before the weekend hits, test all of your systems, and make sure everything is running smoothly.

4) Do a social blast

Events like Easter provide easy fodder for social media promotions and marketing.

It doesn’t take a creative genius to get some Easter themed posts out there. It’s all that much better when you also do a promo sale of some variety to stoke your sales and bring in more customers.

Even if you don’t have a themed promo going, you should focus paid posts on your most popular products and direct your sales leads to a custom landing page or contact form.

You can be assured your competitors will be doing something along these lines…

5) Retarget your old customers

Using your CRM data, do an email campaign blast to your loyal and previous customers.

As always, it’s easier to resell to an existing customer than to gain a new one. You’ll experience far less friction and a lower cost per lead by focusing a campaign on repeat business. Make sure you offer something special for the occasion though.

6) Generate some Easter energy and buzz

You can easily draw some eyeballs if you get into the spirit of things. Use your creativity in store or online to capitalise on the weekend’s themes.

By spending some effort to create a memorable, themed, fun, and approachable environment, you’ll be a magnet for shoppers. A buzzing atmosphere is tantalising and infectious. This can be as simple as free easter eggs or as elaborate as you like. Cafes and restaurants can go nuts with hot cross buns and specialty menu items.

“You walk into a retail store, whatever it is, and if there’s a sense of entertainment and excitement and electricity, you wanna be there.”

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks.