The holidays are over and it’s time to review your sales data and look over how your business did this season. Reviewing how the season went will reveal how you can improve your performance next year. Keeping track year to year will help improve performance and increase your gains. Here is a process to make the most of the data you have collected.
Review your sales data
Look over your profit and loss statement for your holiday sales. The numbers will show you which products performed best, how your customers spent their money and how sales compared to other times of the year. There is a lot of data to comb through but here are some of the things you might want to pay attention to.
- Holiday season sales
- Peak days
- Best-selling items
- Worst-selling items
- Average transaction amount
- Most common billing and shipping ZIP codes
- If you offered holiday deals, the percentage of transactions that used them
These numbers will help show you which items and promotions did the best. It also will allow you to compare the season to the rest of the year.
Calculate seasonal costs
You are looking for the difference between the normal operating costs and the higher seasonal costs. Include any additional marketing you paid for. Remember to include to add in any part-time help you hired, any additional shipping supplies you had to purchase, and any extra payment processing costs. If you had extra holiday-seasonal advertising, be sure to include it as well.
Review customer feedback
Look at reviews and comments left on social media and review sites. See where you excelled and where you can improve. Sort out any unresolved issues that can damage your reputation. Also examine where you did well, where you can improve, and what the most common questions were.
Evaluate your time
How did you spend your time? How much was on profit-boosting activities? Were there time-consuming activities you could outsource? Did you have enough time to conduct all the normal activities of your business as well as the added time needed for the season? Did you hire enough help to keep up with everything? The solution might be as simple as streamlining your processes or it may be that you need to hire more help during the holiday peaks.
Evaluate the season
What went well? What can be improved? Did you make a profit? Why or why not? How can you make more sales and better margins? Did you have enough help? Look at the big picture.
If you made a profit during the season and had great reviews from your customers, and you had time to manage your business during the rush, congratulations! You won the small business holiday trifecta.
If you were overworked, you can start planning to get more help for next year. If your reviews weren’t so good, you can plan for delivering better customer service.
What if your time management, sales numbers, and customer service were good but you still didn’t make as much of a profit as you’d hoped? Then it’s time to review pricing and costs to see where you can make adjustments.
The good news about making adjustments is that you have plenty of time to refine them before Black Friday next year. Consider the other holidays an early test run for improvements to your business.