The holidays can be a joyous time when the world feels a little more magical and a lot more fun. In practice, however, this can also be an extra-stressful time — especially if you work in retail. Store owners and staff not only have to handle their own holiday stress, but also the stress of hundreds of customers coming through the door with their own worries, needs and demands.
For some people working in retail, holiday burnout has become an expected part of the job. But it doesn’t have to be that way! De-stressing is an important way to take care of yourself as well as offer stellar customer service. So, let’s talk about how to de-stress and keep your retail establishment a pleasant place for employees and shoppers alike.
You Can’t Pour From an Empty Cup
The first step is just being aware that we all get stressed around the holidays, retailers and customers alike. It’s important to remain patient and kind with customers because they are stressed out too — not to mention because you depend on their business and, ideally, the future business that can result from a positive customer service experience.
That said, being patient, kind and helpful when you are completely depleted is a tall order. We all want customers to have a positive experience while shopping, and that starts with us. Taking care of ourselves is the best thing we can do to create a positive and inviting environment for your customers to shop. Let’s talk more about this!
Take Care of Yourself
We know that we need to replenish our own minds and bodies to feel our best and give customers the best service possible. What does that look like?
- Don’t abandon your self-care practices. When life gets hectic, as it can during the holidays, it can be tempting to skip routines and deprioritize self-care. But remember, self-care isn’t all bubble baths and face masks. Think about rest and sleep, staying hydrated, keeping snacks handy and remembering to take meal breaks. Self-care practices can be a vital part of maintaining our physical and mental health and, as such, are not something you want to abandon in stressful times.
- Treat yourself. You work in the epicenter of pleasure, so take some of that pleasure home with you. Maybe it’s time to use your employee discount and grab that massage oil, beautifully scented candle or powerful wand massager you’ve been eyeing. These can all be tools to relieve tension and stress.
- Dress comfortably. For many, the holidays mean longer hours and more time on your feet. This will feel so much better if you are physically comfortable. Wear clothes you love that also feel good against your body. As we head into winter, take advantage of the colder weather and bust out that cozy sweater and those comfy boots. Don’t forget that physical comfort can have a huge impact on your mood, so dress for comfort.
Stay Ready So You Don’t Have to Get Ready
Holiday shopping can get pretty frantic, but knowing your shop and its wares inside and out can make it a whole lot less stressful — and even, dare I say, a bit fun! Knowing what to expect and being prepared is so important for running your business year-round, but can be especially helpful for keeping your stress levels at a minimum during the busy holiday season. For example, get clear on what products are projected to be fast sellers and which ones will make ideal gifts for particular types of shoppers.
If you are a manager or supervisor, consider putting together a “cheat sheet” with products organized by price points, target users, positive reviews, social media attention and other criteria that sales staff can quickly refer to when asked for recommendations. Having a robust selection of gift ideas with a variety of price points in one floor display can also be helpful — staff can literally point shoppers in the right direction.
Lower Stress Benefits Everyone
One of the best things you can do to help your business succeed during the holiday season is to keep stress levels low. Stress levels may never show up on a spreadsheet or sales report, but doing whatever is in your power to ensure you and any staff for whom you are responsible are taking care of yourselves — and have the time and space to do so while at work — will make a major difference in how it feels to be in your store. In turn, that will provide customers with a comfortable and successful shopping environment during this stressful time, and hopefully keep them coming back year-round.