The holidays are coming, and retailers are dreaming of a green Christmas. The National Retail Federation expects sales to increase by 3.6% to 4% in 2017. Even with the growth in online sales, this is still the busiest time of year for brick-and-mortar stores. With an increase in sales and traffic numbers, it means that the stakes are high to create a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere for your customers while avoiding the risks associated with that same increased customer traffic.
When you are counting on an increase in revenue, the holidays—and beyond—are not the time to let your company’s energy and sustainability initiatives fall by the wayside.
I recently joined two Ecova colleagues for a webinar, “Retail Facility Management Tips for the Holidays” to address the following key challenges and opportunities for retail facilities and recommended best practices to manage risk and increase savings across energy, water, carbon and waste.
- Higher volume. With even greater spikes on Black Friday, Christmas Eve, and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. While this means greater revenue, it also means more waste, more stress on your HVAC and other facility assets, and unique security challenges. Any issue in your store can have a major impact on customer comfort and perception.
- Extended hours. Many stores will extend hours or conduct before- or after-hours events to maximize the selling season. It’s important to proactively ensure that HVAC and lighting schedules are adjusted, waste is removed at the right times, and that you have made the necessary operational changes to accommodate these changes in business hours.
- Seasonal employees. These employees should be focused on the job you hired them to do, but they should also be included in training and expectations related to your annual energy and sustainability efforts so they don’t unknowingly limit your progress.
- Store disruptions. Uncomfortable store environments, overflowing waste bins, broken HVAC systems, or even severe weather can disrupt your store’s goal of selling through inventory and making customers happy. Minimize any potential barriers to meeting your sales goals and keep your business moving.
- Unique seasonal issues from security to extreme weather. Winter months bring more than just holidays. The added challenges of security concerns and weather events place added responsibilities on small facilities teams. Appropriate planning can minimize safety and security risks and prevent unnecessary emergency repairs.
Our expert recommendations to overcome these challenges have been compiled in our latest free eGuide, “Face and Overcome Facility Challenges of the Holiday Season.” You’ll learn a range of proactive actions to take to ensure that your retail staff is focusing on sales and customer service this holiday season, not responding to system emergencies. These actions are good reminders not only for the holiday season, but throughout the rest of the year as well.