A Complete Guide To Your Business' Opening Hours
There are many factors that make up the running of a successful business; and the question of opening hours can often leave business owners stumped. Your opening hours will depend on a number of things such as location and the nature of your product / service; and how you deal with this can have a knock-on effect on things like customer satisfaction, your productivity and your return on investment.
So with this in mind, we’ve put together some important factors for you to consider:
Look at Your Data
Gathering data around your sales and transactions can be extremely insightful when it comes to figuring out exactly when you’re generating the most revenue. One way to do this is by looking at your EPOS (electronic point of sale) data and gathering information around the number of transactions per hour for your business. Looking across the largest date range possible will allow you to spot any seasonal trends or patterns that appear.
When making adjustments to your opening hours, make sure to work from clear cut conclusions. For example if based on your findings, you hardly receive any sales early on a Monday morning, you could consider opening at 10am instead of 9am.
Get To Know Your Target Customer
Considering your target customer is a hugely significant step in determining your opening times. This involves learning as much about your customers as much as you possibly can - and not just their age, job and incomes, but also about their spending habits and daily routines.
To find this out, you could simply ask some of your customers when they visit your premises or set up a survey and gather data around their habits. you might find that your customers either visit after work on certain days or mainly at weekends for example, which means you may need to consider extending your evening or weekend hours.
Consider Your Competitors
Being aware of your competitors and what hours they’re operating could help put your business at a distinct advantage. Consider whether any similar businesses are open at a time when you are closed, if so there’s a chance that you could be missing out on potential revenue here. However, before drawing any conclusions from this, it’s worth investigating the reality of the volume of business they are receiving. If you notice that they are never very busy at these times, then it may not be worth opening up your business either.
Allow For Seasonality
Depending on your business, you’re likely to experience peaks and troughs throughout the year when it comes to footfall; as seasonal events,such as Christmas and bank holidays, are likely to have an impact on the hours that you trade. According to studies, when choosing to shut up shop on every UK public holiday, small firms were found to forfeit £2,163 annually. And while you may not want to open every single holiday, you could look at other options such as staying opening a little later during the Christmas period or operating limited hours on bank holidays.
If you do decide to close, then it’s important to communicate this clearly so that your customers know when you’ll be open again. You should be making this information available across your website and all your social media channels. You should also add your seasonal hours to Google My Business so that your customers are alerted of your change in hours when they search for your business.
Research Special Events
And of course, looking to your community and neighbourhood is also helpful when it comes to thinking about your opening hours. So make sure to keep a calendar of any festivals, local fairs, or sporting events that are happening in your local area.
If you’re a cafe owner, for instance, you may want to adjust your hours on these days to accommodate people before and after the event. You can then use your website, social media channels and offline marketing to promote this to both your current customer base and chance visitors!
Think About Your Employees
Last, but not least, you must remember to prioritise your team. If you’re changing or extending your hours then let your employees know well in advance, and perhaps consider offering incentives to keep them motivated. If you’re asking them to work bank holidays and over the holidays then you could think about offering overtime and working out a rota so that your employees aren’t always working unsociable hours. It could also be worth checking out some information around your employees’ rights to make sure you’re complying with the current laws.
Although it can be tricky to get it right when it comes to your opening hours, taking a few considerations into account can certainly help you with making more accurate and informed decisions!