The December holiday season is officially here, and as such, many retail stores are employing extended business hours. As Christmas quickly approaches, retailers are trying to squeeze as much money as they can out of shoppers. One way they do that is by opening earlier and closing later than they do throughout the rest of the year.
Holiday sales are a considerable part of the annual success of retailers nationwide. Black Friday is the official kickoff to the Christmas shopping season. The origin of its name is that it is the date that retail shops would traditionally go into the “black,” or become profitable.
Indeed, holiday sales represent roughly 20% of annual retail sales every year, according to the National Retail Federation. Some segments of retailers may see a higher percentage of their annual sales come in the last month or so of the year.
With Black Friday already in the rearview mirror, Christmas is approaching quickly. You may be wondering if you should consider extending your business hours to up your profits.
Should I have extended business hours during the holidays?
With Thanksgiving falling so late this year, on November 28, the holiday shopping season lost a few days. Many retail businesses choose to extend their regular business hours to take advantage of every person walking through the door they can. But is this a good idea for you?
The answer to that question depends on the type of business you have, and how important being open during the holiday season—and on specific holidays—is to your customers.
Consider what type of store you own
If you have a retail store that sells goods that are considered gifts, then it is a good idea to offer your customers extended business hours. For example, if you own a toy store, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the prime time to open a few hours earlier and/or stay open a few hours later.
On the other hand, if you own a convenience store, it may not be as essential for you to extend your business hours during December. Your customers probably won’t change their buying habits at your store.
As for having extended hours for the holidays themselves, that really depends on the type of store you own. One type of retail business that often remains open during holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Eve—albeit on shorter hours—is a grocery store. That’s because their customers are likely to need to run out for last-minute additions for their holiday meals.
Consider December’s holidays
Keep in mind that December has multiple holidays. While most people know that Christmas is celebrated on December 25 this year, keep in mind that Hanukkah begins in the evening on December 22 and ends in the evening on December 30. Kwanzaa will be celebrated in the United States from December 26 to January 1.
You may also want to offer extended business hours during New Year’s Eve (December 31) and possibly even New Year’s Day (January 1).
Things to take into consideration when determining extended business hours
If you’ve made the decision to offer extended business hours during the holiday season, there are some essential things you need to keep in mind.
First and foremost, you have to decide what your extended business hours should be. Whether you should open earlier, stay open later, or both depends on who your typical customer is and when he or she does most of their holiday shopping.
The Christmas season is busy for most businesses, regardless of whether they are in the retail industry or not. As such, a lot of people have to work extended hours at their job.
That’s why generally speaking, most retail stores must remain open later at night, rather than opening earlier. People are more likely to shop for gifts for their friends and family after they go to work than they are before.
During the weekend, though, you may want to consider opening earlier than usual. Many people like to start their morning early on the weekends during the holiday season to beat the rush and so that they can enjoy the rest of their day. Plus, in most of the country, it gets cold and dark earlier at night.
Beyond which hours to choose, it’s also important that you have a solid plan in place for how your business is going to handle the extended business hours.
This includes ensuring you have a plan to hire employees for the holidays, as well as the budget in place to pay these extra workers.
Finally, you need to know how you, personally, are going to juggle the additional hours you’ll put in running your retail store. You must do your best not just to run your business, but enjoy the holiday with your friends and family, too.
How to set special hours in Google My Business
Some of your customers may know your regular operating hours, but many won’t know off the top of their head what your holiday hours are. Besides, there are probably many people who want to know when your business is open during the holiday season.
The most common way people figure that out nowadays is by searching for your business on Google. No longer do they call your store to ask. They just search online.
That’s why you must update your extended business hours on Google My Business for the holiday season. If you don’t, potential customers may think that your business is closed when you have extended hours.
Updating your hours for any holidays is as easy as 1-2-3.
- Login to your Google My Business page.
- Scroll down to the Information section and find where it lists your normal business hours.
- In that section, there will also be a spot for special business hours. Click Edit next to this and update your extended business hours for the holiday season.
Are you ready to have a profitable holiday season?
The holiday shopping season starting the day after Thanksgiving and leading up to Christmas Day is the busiest time of year for retailers nationwide. But whether extending your regular business hours is worth it for you depends entirely on what type of retail business you have.
As you are deep into working this holiday season, don’t forget to take a step back and plan for how you’re going to run your business into 2020 and beyond.
One of the best things you can do for yourself as a business owner is to join a community of like-minded individuals. And one of the best ways to do that is to subscribe to the Camino Financial Newsletter, where you can receive management tips and ideas to grow your business.
At Camino Financial, we do everything we can to live up to our motto of “No Business Left Behind.” That’s why we provide you the best financial resources, as well as educational and motivational tools that can help you succeed.
Here’s to a successful holiday shopping season and a wonderful New Year ahead!