Week 1 / FEB. 1-6
Technology Showcase popular Valentine items on your homepage, with a special emphasis on items that are exclusive to your store.
Display Starting with your V-Day displays, take a photo of each case the first of every month. With a history of it, you’ll know what Valentine’s Day 2016 looked like when it comes around to doing the display for 2017.
Strategy Visit your competitors’ stores and websites, subscribe to their newsletters, and assign someone on staff to create a scrapbook of their ads. You’ll be able to identify which areas to compete in and how to differentiate your store.
Week 2 / FEB. 8-13
Strategy Feb. 14 falls on a Sunday in 2016, leading to last-minute panic-buyers. Prepare a list of popular items at different price points. Review your “last-minute panic-buying” strategy and stock levels.
Operations The No. 1 complaint customers have about salespeople is a lack of follow-up. Create a follow-up system and let your customers know you will always be there.
Staff You may not need new people now but keep a list of candidates.
Marketing Email blast: “Three days left ’til Valentine’s Day!” List your top 10 ideas for gifts.
Week 3 / FEB. 15-20
Finances If your fiscal year ends in December, you should finalize your financial statements by Feb. 29. Make an appointment to see your CPA.
Marketing Identify your top 1,000 customers and make yearlong plans targeting them. If you don’t have birthday and anniversary data, start thinking of ways to get it.
Store If florists have any cheap stock left over from Valentine’s, you could get a jump on spring with fresh flowers in the store.
Marketing Adjust case content with an eye toward Mother’s Day and grad season. And don’t forget self purchasers — they buy throughout the year.
Marketing Create a yearlong calendar for events and promos: Bridal event for the fall, designer trunk show for summer, loose diamond event, holiday sale.
Finances If you haven’t updated your props and fixtures for five years, they’re sure to be showing their age. Amortize and depreciate fixtures and props as you do other equipment. Set a budget and schedule to acquire new gear.
Week 4 / FEB. 22-27
Inventory Buying season is on the way: Take a hard look at your inventory. Weed out underperformers and identify any new category trends. Set targets and support plans for your emerging inventory stars.
Finances Don’t have time to negotiate? Billcutterz.com will do it for you. It haggles utility, Internet, cable, cellphone and trash bills for no starter fee. You and the site split the savings 50-50.
Technology Still not using bar code technology? Get with it. The same goes for all the other under-utilized functions on your POS system.
Operations Conduct an annual review of your property insurance policies to ensure they represent today’s prices.
Data Security It’s the time of year to back up all customer and store data and other important files.
This article originally appeared in the February 2016 edition of INSTORE.