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Insights for Surviving (and Maximizing) the Holiday Shopping Season

For the first time in history, 2019’s holiday shopping season is expected to surpass $1 trillion in revenue. If you’ve ever operated during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, you very well know the chaos and challenges that start to surface this time of year. 

Fortunately, there are some handy tools available to business operators and their staff to help them navigate a frenzied — yet lucrative — holiday shopping season. In the following article, a Revel Systems employee with long-standing ties to hospitality management shares some insights from his time in the holiday grind, along with learnings from the product side of the equation. 

Jay Gillespie, Revel’s senior product manager, has more than 20 years of immersive experience working with point of sale (POS). Throughout his professional career, he’s worked alongside some of the largest restaurant and hotel management companies in the southeast in areas ranging from consulting, to setting up new restaurants, and even creating his very own POS system.

Gillespie offers an unparalleled scope into retail and restaurant challenges during the holidays as he breaks down some key ways to keep you from missing out on a huge stream of revenue this season. 

Get a grip on your inventory

Having a tight control over your inventory as the panic of the holidays sets in can save you from money and resources gone to waste. Drill down into your year-over-year sales by utilizing data insights so you can objectively estimate labor and inventory needs. Using data rather than guesswork will save you both time and money.

“It’s crucial to be able to handle the surges and volume [of the holidays] without having to over-staff or over-prepare,” says Gillespie.  “It’s a matter of making sure you have the right technology and systems in place that will give you the right historical data.”

Get ahead of holiday labor challenges

Labor controls are especially tough as employers scramble to hire the right seasonal or part-time employees that can pull off the workload demand of the holiday rush. Don’t get swamped and take early action by buckling down on an on-boarding game plan. 

“You don’t have two weeks to train employees anymore,” says Gillespie. “Having an easy-to-use interface, especially on a piece of hardware that everybody is familiar with, allows you to give this system to somebody and have it up and running within a day.” Use an intuitive system that cuts down on training time and fees and enables your employees to quickly pick it up and hit the ground running. Time is money, especially during the most lucrative time of the year. 

The right POS platform will enable you and your employees to remove unnecessary, user-centric hiccups, while also creating a lasting and positive customer experience. 

Get with the program

Nine years ago, Gillespie was brought in to fix the bar at Starwood Hotels’ St. Regis property. As he reflects on his time there, he stresses the importance of being up-to-date and incorporating a system that can support the time and needs of today’s market. 

At the time, “satellite bars” (large, mobile carts with clunky POS systems on them) were in usage before mobile order takers came into the market. “By the time you order a $17 vodka soda you would have to wait 20 minutes to get it because of the technology,” Gillespie explains, highlighting the hurdles he faced managing these devices.  “[Servers] couldn’t fulfill your order in a hurried fashion. Having a POS system that could have supported the demand of the holiday season would have been a game changer.” 

If you’re a business owner, make sure you deploy the right technology and take advantage of the innovations available through your POS. Capitalizing on the available resources can help to minimize risks and maximize profits during the busiest season of the year. 

Missing some of these features in your POS? Connect with one of our product experts to see if Revel is the right solution for you.