What are the Biggest Challenges Faced by Retailers in Winter?

As Christmas approaches, retailers around the world see their takings start to increase dramatically. It is often said that those who work within the industry work all year only to be defined by what happens between the last weekend of November and Christmas Day. There is no question that this period is the most critical in terms of revenues and profit, however at the same time it also presents a vast array of challenges and obstacles to overcome.

We looked at what the most challenging aspects of retailing are as the end of the calendar year approaches.

Restricted Sale Items

Retailers deal with age-restricted items throughout the year, whether they be video games, fireworks, tobacco products, or alcohol. The problem when it comes to winter, however, is that there are more people ‘trying it on’ attempting to buy these products despite being of a young age. This tends to happen because people believe that, as stores are busier, till attendants will be less vigilant in terms of asking for and checking identification. Stores having inexperienced, temporary Christmas staff also makes it difficult as they may not be in the habit of challenging customers who appear to be underage.

Trading standards and other enforcement agencies also tend to be more active during this period, and selling fireworks or tobacco, for example, to a ‘test shopper’ who is underage usually ends in a court appearance and a fine, rather than a slap on the wrists.

Increasing Crime

Shoplifting is a massive problem all year round, too, but again one that hugely intensifies at Christmas. Reasons range from criminals stealing to ‘order’ for people they know or to sell in pubs or markets, to people who are normally honest taking things because they are feeling financial strain at this time of the year.

A store being busier often motivates people to steal as they feel they won’t, or at least are less likely to, get caught, and remaining vigilant is a huge challenge for many stores, especially as they again could be relying on inexperienced, temporary staff in key areas.

Stock Shortages

Whether it is fireworks, toys, the latest fashions, or anything else that is in high demand in November and December, stores often don’t have the supply in order to always satisfy customer needs. While this isn’t always their fault, dealing with customers and keeping them happy can be a huge challenge, especially when emotions are running high; stores can’t simply turn to people and say ‘well, you should have bought it earlier.’

The winter period is a lucrative time of the year for retailers of all products, yet with it come massive challenges. Meeting these successfully, however, can set stores up to perform well throughout the remainder of the year.

This article was written by Fireworks Crazy, a premium fireworks display and ecommerce site that is licensed to sell fireworks across the whole year.

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