This year, peak retail season will begin – and likely end – under the cloud of global economic headwinds. Inflation, interest rates and a cost-of-living crisis are putting the squeeze on household spending, just as Australia’s retailers are relying on their customers to help drive them through an essential post-pandemic peak retail sales season. Don’t be deterred, though – with the following strategies your sales targets for the months ahead might become far more achievable than first feared.

How to set achievable, but challenging, targets

Before you pursue your targets, you need to set them. Finding a balance is essential. If your targets are too high, it can de-motivate and demean your staff, but if they’re too low your team might not push themselves. Most of all, ensure they’re grounded in insight. For example, analyse your average sales and profits from previous years to act as a guide.

You’ll likely end with a target that you want to hit by the end of peak retail season, which is months away. When dealing with your team, you may want to set targets for a shorter time frame, like weekly or even daily. Frequent targets can boost ongoing motivation, with research from the Harvard Business Review revealing that daily quotas increased sales by nearly five per cent.

And finally, make them SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Instead of setting a goal of increasing your customers, a SMART goal might be getting 50 new customers to join your loyalty program every week.

How to communicate your targets

To pursue your targets, they must be ingrained within the team and communicated clearly and consistently. Talking about sales targets and performance throughout the day keeps everyone accountable and motivated.

For example, make your goals and progress visible on your Point-of-Sale system. In Lightspeed Payments, for example, you can build detailed visual and numerical reports in real-time, display the targets for the user currently signed in and even identify top performing team members, locations or periods of the day.

To really drive results, you need to keep your staff motivated too. Offering commission and giving bonuses are common motivation tactics for sales employees. Be careful, though, not to create unhealthy competition in which employees are only looking after their own interests rather than the store.

How to empower your sales team

When it comes to effective selling, you need to teach your staff what to sell and how to sell it. Investing in training is an excellent way to not only upskill your team, but motivate them too, by demonstrating their professional development is important to you.

You can’t put them on the floor with no guidance and expect results. Invest the time and effort to educate them. A great way to instil product knowledge is through the “FAB” formula, which focuses on features, advantages and benefits. The features are the characteristics of a product, the advantages pertain to what the product or features can do, and the benefit – the most important part – is what the customer can gain from the product.

How to optimise your retail store

Finally, if you want your team to achieve your targets you must ensure your store is optimised for success. First, you must drive ample foot traffic. After all, it’ll be difficult to meet sales goals if there aren’t any customers to sell to. To ensure your store has a steady flow of traffic for your team to convert, spruce up your window displays, hold events, run promotions, create loyalty programs and deploy marketing campaigns through email and social media.

Even the best retailers will struggle if they’re trying to sell something that doesn’t resonate with their shoppers. That’s why it’s essential to have a deep understanding of what your customers want and need. So talk to your customers, figure out what they want to see in your store and pay attention to consumer trends. With that knowledge, you can order your stock and store appropriately. If, for example, your customers are all craving that latest summer trend, position it prominently.

There is no such thing as an insignificant peak season, but this year it has taken on greater significance for Australia’s dynamic and resilient retail sector. Economic headwinds and the lingering effects of the pandemic remain, but with sensible goals, savvy strategies and a motivated and empowered team, there are plenty of opportunities to meet – and exceed – your retail sales targets in the year ahead.

Gordana Redzovski is vice president of retail for APAC at Lightspeed.