4 Great Ways to Get the Most Out Your Holiday Post-Mortem

The holiday season is over. Before you get too far into the new year, you need to carry out a holiday post-mortem to review your performance over the holiday and uncover areas that require improvement. A good post-mortem takes a comprehensive look at your business operations during the holiday to gain useful insights for holiday spending as Canadians spend up to $2.781 billion exchanging gifts. Below are four steps to performing a proper post-mortem.

1. Involve Everyone Who Contributed

An effective post-mortem involves everyone who participated in creating the results. So, in addition to your marketing team, you need to include your web design team, for example, if you believe that your web interface affected your sales. Or, if you worked with an agency to create the marketing campaign, someone from the agency’s team needs to be present at the post-mortem.

2. Use Reports to Gain a Clear, Broad Picture

Comprehensive data should inform your post-mortem. Departments involved in the post-mortem should provide detailed reports that help you determine what the business did right and what it did wrong. These reports will help you figure out how to tune up your holiday marketing campaign’s strengths and work around its weaknesses for improved performance.

For example, the reports may reveal that some of your promotions were ineffective or that a drastic uptick in online sales resulted in frequent cases of understocking. You avoid repeating the same mistakes by using these insights to inform your marketing campaigns in the next holiday season.

3. Review Fulfillment and Shipping to Identify Friction Points

Fulfilling and shipping deliver on your brand promise so be sure to pay attention to these areas. Some of the aspects of fulfillment and shipping that you need to review include delivery times, return rates, customer complaints and the effect that shipping prices had on sales.

Determine friction points, which tend to become increasingly obvious during the holidays as increasing orders overwhelm merchants. Use your analysis to identify business processes that require optimizing or outsourcing for improved efficiency. As the influential management consultant (Peter Drucker) noted, nothing is as useless as optimizing a process that doesn’t serve your objective.

4. Do the Post-Mortem Immediately After the Holiday Season

Devise a detailed plan to improve your performance next year. You need to carry out the post-mortem as soon as possible after the holiday season is over and promptly create a plan while the analysis is fresh in your mind. Doing so gives you enough time to incorporate the plan into your preparations for the next season.

4 Common Holiday Marketing Mistakes to Avoid Next Year

The holiday season offers one of the best marketing opportunities but taking full advantage of this chance can be tricky. Sales go up during the holiday season in Canada, especially after Black Friday. However, many businesses make common marketing mistakes that prevent them from maximizing their holiday sales.

Here are four important holiday marketing mistakes your post-mortem might uncover.

1. Your Marketing Content Lacked Value

You bombarded your customers with promotional messages about your offers but the marketing content sent the customers little to no value. Just because people permit themselves to spend a little more during the festive season doesn’t mean that their not looking to get the most out of every shopping dollar

Next year, send marketing material that adds value to your customers in creative ways. For example, your newsletter can include a brief post titled “How to Make Sure the Gift You Get Your Loved One Matches Their Personality” and include a link to your offers in a call to action at the end.

2. You Didn’t Cash In Early Shopping

You waited too long to start your holiday season marketing. Savvy shoppers know to avoid the last-minute holiday shopping craze. Seasoned marketers are aware that the excited anticipation of the festive season begins early and they start their Christmas season marketing as early as October, or even the end of August. Don’t join the party late next year.

3. You Failed to Do Competitor Analysis

You were too focused on your business’s marketing strategies that you forgot to monitor the competition. Maybe if you kept an eye on what successful businesses in your industry were doing, you would have noticed that they started their holiday marketing campaigns early and avoided the mistake above.

Avoid this mistake next year by monitoring your competition. Doing so helps you identify marketing opportunities you might have missed, cross-promoting opportunities with other businesses and targeting options for your ads. Top competitor analysis tools include Pi Datametrics, Brandwatch Audiences and Spyfu.

4. Your Central Marketing Campaign Was Too Generic

Competition for customers’ attention skyrocketed during the holiday season but you didn’t come up with unique marketing ideas to boost sales. You failed to take advantage of powerful marketing channels such as interactive Instagram posts or lookbooks that feature shoppable images. Next year, engage your customers on a personal level by experimenting with innovative campaigns.

3 Delicious Recipes for Your Office’s Holiday Potluck

Start the holiday season on a positive note at the office potluck by preparing something simple and delicious. The tasty food you bring to the party adds to the relaxed, friendly holiday mood. Keep the preparation time short with easy dishes like warm cheese dip, cheesy potatoes, and fruit salad.

Warm Cheddar Dip With Tortilla Chips

Warm cheddar dip is an office-friendly potluck idea that’s easy to prepare. Toss the ingredients in a slow cooker, and turn it on low about two hours before time to eat. The ingredients you need are an 8-ounce (225-gram) block of cream cheese, 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and a 20-ounce (500 millilitre) jar of your favourite salsa. If you prefer a milder flavour, swap the salsa for a can of any flavour of cream soup. Stir everything together thoroughly before serving the warm dip with a tray of tortilla chips.

Cheesy Slow Cooker Potatoes

Power up the slow cooker, set it on high heat and put the ingredients in it to cook while you work. The ingredients you need are a 16-ounce (450-gram) bag of either shredded or cubed potatoes, a cubed 8-ounce (225-gram) block of cream cheese, 18 ounces (500 grams) of either cheddar or Colby cheese, a can of your favourite type of cream soup, and 9 ounces (250 millilitres) of milk. If you want to add meat to make this dish heartier, consider diced ham or crumbled bacon bits.

Salad and Dessert in One

Fresh fruit salad serves double-duty as a salad and a healthy dessert for an office potluck. Use a large, clear bowl so the colours of the fruit show, and pick fruits in a variety of colours. This recipe is easy to adapt based on seasonal offerings at your local market and your favourite type of fruit. Cut the fruit into bite-sized chunks, then coat it with a light syrup made with a squeeze of lemon juice, a small scoop of sugar, and half a pint (250 millilitres) of water.

Keep everything organized by putting your name on your bowls and utensils with a dry-erase marker or labels from staples, so your things don’t get mixed up with the dishes and utensils belonging to others in your office.

4 Great Decorating Tips to Boost Holiday Sales

The festive season uplifts people’s moods and sets the stage for them to relax and have fun. The holidays are also a special time for your business because they give you an opportunity to boost your bottom line by using holiday decorations to create an environment that encourages people to buy your products.

Here we share four top tips for driving up sales by being smart about the way you use holiday decorations.

1. Let the holiday theme guide your selection of decorations

Using decorations that are relevant to the holiday stirs your customers’ and employees’ holiday spirits. This feel-good environment that the festive season evokes can drive up sales when you use decorations to make your customers associate your brand with positive emotions.

For instance, you can tap into your customer’s holiday spirit during the Christmas season by injecting your brand personality into classic Christmas decorations such as Christmas lights, red-and-green decor, snow-themed decor and Christmas folklore characters such as Santa and his elves.

2. Pick and use the Christmas tree wisely

A Christmas tree gives you a unique opportunity to boost sales by sharing giveaways with your customers and presenting smaller merchandise as gifts. Position one of your salespeople as Santa to encourage your customers to interact with your merchandise.

Consider using an artificial tree. It offers more value than a real Christmas tree in the long run because you can use it multiple times before it needs replacement. Even better, an artificial Christmas tree eliminates the need to clean up shedding needles, so your salespeople can focus on selling your products.

3. Using flashy outdoor decor to draw in customers

Capture the attention of passersby by decorating outdoor spaces like rooftops or sidewalks. Attach a wreath with suction cups to your door and replace your regular doormats with Christmas-themed doormats. Use bright displays to draw customers would have otherwise overlooked your business.

Once your flashy outdoor decorations attract customers into the business, use your waiting area to set the scene with equally flamboyant decor such as a lifesize Santa, elves, holiday soldiers or a polar bear.

4. Think about next Christmas

Give preference to holiday decorations that provide lasting value. Invest in a high-quality artificial Christmas tree that you can use for years to come. Buy sturdy and sealable storage containers that maintain the shape of your wreaths, Christmas tree and other reusable holiday decorations.

Organize Your Business with TRU RED Writing & Note Taking

Nothing is quite as frustrating as forgetting an amazing idea you had. Jotting down your ideas to capture them is among the numerous benefits of effective note-taking at work. Improved note-taking also helps you organize your thoughts, understand complex concepts, share information with colleagues and enhance your creativity.

Similarly, writing a journal can help relieve stress, maintain focus and boost productivity. With TRU RED note-taking stationery — such as notebooks, journals, pencil cups, desktop organizers and accessory trays — you can easily record ideas and other information for future reference.

To take excellent notes at work, you also need the right note-taking strategies. The situation in which you take notes will determine the best note-taking strategies. Let’s take a look at different work scenarios that require you to use a specific note-taking strategy to meet your goals.

1. Team Meetings

The most effective team meetings are the ones from which team members leave with clear steps they need to take to achieve individual and group objectives. When you take notes during collaborative environments such as team meetings, focus on issues, facts, decisions, action plans and team members’ questions and answers. Using the right note-taking stationery, such as notebooks, lets you easily capture notes and convert them into to-do lists and tasks.

2. Brainstorming Sessions

Brainstorming sessions are unstructured meetings in which people contribute their ideas. During these meetings, you need to quickly capture information and record incomplete thoughts. You need to merge these ideas and refine them on an ongoing basis. Your note-taking strategy may involve writing down words, drawing diagrams or sketches, or reviewing images.

Mind-mapping is a flexible note-taking strategy that can help you make sense of brainstorming sessions because you don’t need to stick to a linear approach. You need a sizable TRU RED notebook for creating mind maps. Use two pages as one to create larger mind maps, which you can later scan and share with your colleagues.

3. One-On-One Meetings

Note-taking can help you capture ideas during one-one-one meetings such as a performance review or a lunch meeting with your mentor. Even though the learning environment at one-on-one meetings is more intimate than team meetings, it might still be a good idea to put to paper some parts of the conversation.

However, you need to balance between recording information and maintaining a meaningful connection with the other person. Instead of trying to record the entire conversation word for word, consider taking notes immediately after the meeting when you can still remember the important things that you talked about.

How to Protect Your Business Against Visual Hacking

Cybersecurity is a great concern for modern organizations. Among these threats is a low-tech attack known as visual hacking. It refers to the unauthorized capture of private, sensitive or confidential information by viewing it. This form of hacking is common because most organizations are unable to detect and prevent visual hacking in their offices.

How Does Visual Hacking Occur?

Visual hackers look for fully visible information on device monitors, desks, and other exposed locations such as printers or copiers. An unauthorized person can steal confidential documents or use a phone to take a photo of visible confidential or sensitive information. These attacks take place in full view of office workers, who are often unsuspecting because it happens quickly.

Certain situations — such as sensitive information on an employee’s computer screen — lend themselves more easily to visual hacking. The office layout is also a risk factor. Traditional office layouts such as cubicles make it hard to access confidential paper documents and computer screens. In contrast, open-plan offices are highly susceptible to visual hacking.

Protecting Your Business Against Visual Hacking

Companies can sensitize employees to the threat of visual hacking by implementing visual privacy protocols and policies. Effective visual security practices include the use of office security solutions. Two common and useful solutions are privacy filters for computer screens and document shredders for paper documents.

Paper shredders cut paper documents into thin strips or fine particles. Organizations and individuals use these devices to destroy private and confidential documents. When choosing a paper shredder for your business, you need to consider several factors. These include how much paper you want to shred, how fine you want to cut the paper, and special features such as anti-jam technology, energy savings and ability to shred other items (staples, paper clips, credit cards and CDs).

Privacy filters cover a computer screen and obscure it’s contents when viewed from the sides or top. This low-tech privacy solution uses polarized plastic to block out light from these angles. Few computer monitors come with built-in privacy filters so you need to buy a third-party filter. When choosing privacy filters, consider image clarity, your use case, size, matte finish and color.

In addition to using the above security tools, your business should set up procedures to report suspicious visual hacking behavior. Finally, regular organization-wide visual privacy audits have also proven useful in address visual hacking and other security threats.

Essential Brainstorming Aids for the New Year

Brainstorming is a powerful method of coming up with ideas for your business. It’s usually a group activity. In addition to helping you come up with ideas that you would have otherwise not thought of, brainstorming gives you insights on your what areas of your business you need to improve.

Start with a question to trigger news, and then use a mind map or word map to explore each idea. A SWOT analysis is another effective brainstorming technique. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask who, what, why, when, where and how questions to come up with ideas.

Besides effective brainstorming techniques, you need the right tools to generate excellent ideas.

Presentation Boards

Modern offices use presentation boards at meetings to display information. In this case, you can use the boards to capture ideas that your team members share during the brainstorming session. Presentation boards are useful in this regard. They are available in various styles, sizes and surfaces to suit different preferences.

For a stronger visual impact, consider getting a brightly coloured board. You can also get corrugated cardboards for greater durability, and boards with a tri-fold feature are easy to carry around. Photos and papers adhere easily on these boards with the use of double-sided tape, glue sticks or glue dots.

Mind Mapping Software

Mind mapping software is another handy way to bring your colleagues’ ideas to life. The most basic among these tools mimic whiteboards. More advanced tools can link related ideas to create a plan. Coggle is a good example of such tools. This online mind mapping tool has both free and premium versions.

Coggle builds diagrams that connect a collection of ideas to a central theme. You can also use it to create workflow sketches, mind maps with single or multiple themes and organization charts. Coggle also has versioning, revision history and Google Drive integration.

Applying Brainstorming to Relevant Areas

Brainstorming is a highly effective way of quickly coming up with concise ideas. For this reason, it’s popular among companies that rely on their workers’ creativity to gain a competitive advantage. In the end, presentation boards and mind mapping software are applicable in all areas where market-oriented ideas are relevant to your team’s workflow.

Boosting Employee Engagement Over the Holidays

One of the hardest but most rewarding aspects of running a business is keeping employees motivated during the holidays. Some office workers go on break, leaving their colleagues to fill in the gap. Employees feel discouraged as they think about people who are off work. Duties at home pile up because the kids are home. Customer demands peak during. Pressure mounts as the company scrambles to meet year-end goals.

You need to take steps to appreciate your employees and recognize their efforts during this burdensome period. Here are three ways to keep your employees engaged over the holidays.

1. Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Workplace wellness is an increasingly important priority in the modern workplace, according to a 2019 workplace survey by Staples. Empowering your employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance keeps them motivated.

Avoid encroaching their personal time with workplace demands. Accommodate their workplace preferences by offering options such as remote working and flexible working hours. Create a workplace culture that expresses gratitude to office workers that fill in for their colleagues while they’re on holiday.

2. Set Clear Goals for the Holidays

Be clear about the company’s goals for the holiday and set policies that support flexible work schedules. Let your employees know what your expectations are for them during over the holiday season. Show gratitude to employees who achieve these goals. Doing so uplifts them because they feel that you prioritize their needs.

3. Plan an Office Holiday Event

Plan an amazing office holiday party for your employees. It’ll help get their minds off the pressures and stresses of the workplace. Office holiday events are also an opportunity for coworkers to create new relationships and strengthen current ones. Common event venues include restaurants, hotels and conference centers. You can switch things up holding a themed event at a unique venue such as a sports facility or performance arts center.

Pick a fun interesting theme such as like an office talent show, office Olympics, obscure holiday (e.g., Employee Appreciation Day) or a company milestone. Get the timing for the event right, ensuring it doesn’t drag on too long. Consider hiring a corporate event professional to help you plan a memorable party.

Keep Your Employees in High Spirits

Working during a holiday is stressful. Keep your employees engaged by taking the above recognizing their efforts. Help your office workers maintain a healthy work life, set clear expectations for the holiday and arrange fun events.

Nos efforts en matière de durabilité au sein de la communauté

Chez Staples Avantage Affaires, nous sommes fiers des efforts que nous consacrons en matière de responsabilité sociale. Nous avons des associés(es) partout au pays qui prennent part à de nombreuses activités au bénéfice d’organismes de bienfaisance. Nous redonnons continuellement aux communautés dans lesquelles nous travaillons et vivons.

Le 25 septembre dernier, nous nous sommes associés à  Arbres Canada à titre de commanditaire national à l’occasion de la Journée nationale de l’arbre. Nous avons 40 associés(es) qui se sont portés(es) volontaires pour planter des arbres partout au Canada. Les communautés dans les environs de Vancouver, Winnipeg, Mississauga, Ottawa et Boucherville ont pu bénéficier de centaines de nouveaux arbres grâce à ce partenariat et le travail acharné de plusieurs associés(es).

Cliquez ci-dessous pour voir quelques photos du travail accompli par nos associés(es) à l’occasion de la Journée national de l’arbre.

Tree Canada

Des nouveaux produits pour tirer le maximum de votre journée de travail

Au moment où les entreprises visent à simplifier les processus et que les employés sont appelés à travailler de manière plus efficiente, Staples Avantage Affaires a créé une gamme de nouvelles marques de produits indépendantes pour aider les employés à tirer le maximum de leur journée de travail. En partenariat avec des designers et clients, ces produits ont été conçus dans le but d’inspirer la créativité et fournir l’énergie nécessaire  pour une meilleure qualité de vie au travail.

Découvrez ci-dessous quelques-uns de ces nouveaux produits formidables.

 

Union & Scale

Il s’agit d’une collection de mobilier et d’articles de décoration qui s’agencent harmonieusement. Ces collections qui se distinguent par leur qualité et leur capacité à marier mobilier et objets de décoration sont conçues intelligemment  et fabriquées pour durer.

Union & Scale

TRU RED

Lorsqu’il est temps de passer à l’action, avoir des outils fiables et bien conçus peut faire toute la différence. Ces produits essentiels de bureau soigneusement conçus, tels que stylos, cahiers de notes, déchiqueteuses et accessoires de rangement, peuvent aider vos équipes à mieux travailler, créer et innover.

 

NXT Technologies

Des produits technos qui répondent vraiment à votre façon de travailler. Ces solutions technologiques de pointe veillent à garder tous les membres de votre équipe connectés et productifs et ce, peu importe où ils travaillent.

 

Restez à l’affût, car de nouvelles marques seront offertes au cours des prochains mois!