We all love Christmas and want to enjoy this wonderful time of the year to the fullest. The shops are full of bright lights, sparkly decorations, and Christmas displays. It brings us lots of joy, but we know what it takes to organise it. Management of signage & graphics installations during the holiday season is always associated with lots of stress. Project managers are like Santas working 24/7 together with their installation elves to ensure Christmas in retail will go according to plan.
As the holiday retail season heats up, your calendar gets more crowded, the amount of last-minute requests increases together with the level of stress. On top of this, you have to deal with scheduling overlaps and find ways to allocate your teams of installers to deliver all your projects on time.
Christmas in retail we didn’t expect
According to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast, holiday retail sales are likely to increase between 7% and 9% in 2021 compared to last year. As the vaccination rate progresses, shoppers are returning to the high street, which will boost spending as impulse purchases are more likely when people shop in person. Christmas spending patterns will be more reflective of 2019, which will inevitably influence the demand for printed graphics and signage installations compared to last year when the pandemic inspired a shift toward e-commerce.
On the other hand, the bottlenecks that gummed up in the global supply chain in 2020 were expected to clear by now. Yet, the retail industry is still under tremendous pressure, which will only mount as Christmas approaches. Industry-wide supply chain disruption might lead to delays in manufacturing and delivery processes, in-part due to the much talked about the shortage of lorry drivers.
So, how can you prepare for the busy holiday season as a graphics & signage installation provider?
1. Create a schedule beforehand
Start planning your in-house graphic installers workload in advance. This way, you will see where and when you will need freelance installers and sub-contractors. Additionally, keep a database of freelance installers organised and ready to be used as you might need to request them in case of last-minute changes.
Some tools can help you simplify the scheduling of any signage or graphic installation project. Implementing an installation project management tool will improve communication and boost productivity for you and your team as you will be able to prepare a new job in seconds, avoid conflicts and plan smarter.
2. Use unified software
It’s easy to get lost in the communication between all the parties and phone calls, emails, social media, and messaging apps about your Christmas installations and roll-outs. Choosing a single platform for communication with project manager, installers, suppliers and sub-contractors will save you time and help you focus your attention on the most urgent tasks. Look for installation management software built specifically for printed graphics and signage providers so that you can manage every aspect of every job in one place.
3. Plan your budget realistically
Christmas graphics installations for retail brands can get pricey since installers are in high demand. Mapping out the most common project cost categories will be helpful when getting started with budget planning. This way, you will see what aspects of your projects can be optimised to prevent unnecessary costs.
4. Check your logistics schedule
One of the essential steps to consider in advance is logistics. Review the details and time when signage and printed graphics are due to be delivered and installed. Additionally, because of the delays caused by the current industry-wide supply chain disruptions, ensure that the required installation materials and instruments will be available at the needed time.
5. Consider any Christmas display & graphics specifics when scheduling installers
We all enjoy cosy fairy lights and exciting Christmas-related experiences, and retailers aim to deliver these to us. Therefore, talk with your clients as early as possible about any Christmas wall vinyl specifics or window displays they are planning to install. Some Christmas retail graphics might require more time or particular skills and tools to install. Consider installers experience and skillsets ahead of time when scheduling work. We recommend keeping a database where you can store this information and share it with your colleagues.
6. Discuss with clients your schedule
It’s never too early to talk about Christmas; the earlier you start arranging your schedule of print & signage installation projects, the more time you will have to structure it as efficiently as possible. You can let your customers know by sending them an email update that you have already started accepting installation requests for the busy period and are ready to book them in. This way, you will be able to start working on the project long before the due date and eliminate some of that last-minute stress.
You can do it!
The Christmas retail season this year is predicted to be different and challenging yet profitable both for retail brands and wide-format printers. Proper planning and the right tools will help you simplify workflow and achieve your goals with no extra pressure.
At Vism, we’ve built installation management software to save you time, money and resources. It includes features that help you manage every aspect of all your graphics and signage installation jobs in one place. So you can organise a bigger workload and help your business grow. We can help you enjoy a stress-free Christmas — start today with a free 14-day trial.