Holidays are notoriously busy times for grocery stores. Grocers prepare months ahead of time for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and the Fourth, as they will be packed for days, or even weeks, before the actual holiday. Knowing how to anticipate and meet your customers’ needs will make the difference between a successful holiday season and a lackluster one.

Most Commonly Celebrated Holidays

Wikipedia provides a list of the ten most commonly celebrated holidays in America, ranked by the percentage of people celebrating.

  1. Christmas
  2. Thanksgiving
  3. Mother’s Day
  4. Easter
  5. Fourth of July
  6. Father’s Day
  7. Halloween
  8. Valentine’s Day
  9. St. Patrick’s Day
  10. New Year’s Eve

All of these holidays involved food and beverage traditions, meaning that grocers will see an increase in traffic around these times.

Predict Customers’ Needs

Getting ready for holidays requires knowing what your customers need. 

Know When Your Busiest Times Are

The most hectic days around each holiday can be different for every store. Examine your past years’ sales to know whether you’re most likely to have crowds the Monday before Thanksgiving or the Saturday before Christmas. A Grocery Dive brief found that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving brings a 70-90 percent increase over baseline traffic in several major grocery chains.

Know What Products Are Popular

While there may be variation in crowds depending on your location, for the most part, the most popular products remain the same across the country. For example, ice, beers, hamburgers, and hot dogs are the most popular Fourth of July products. 

Prepare Your Store

Once you know when and what to prepare for, you can start getting your store ready. Look at past sale in your POS System,  COVID will make things a little different with restaurants slowly opening. There might be more catering opportunities.


With an increase in traffic, you’ll have an increase in sales. Make sure that you have enough inventory to cover the holiday rush. You can also place vendor orders ahead of time, to have items ready for early shoppers and to prepare if your vendor closes for the holiday. Keep a close eye on your merchandise throughout the days and weeks leading up to the holiday to re-stock or re-order items. Also make sure to keep track of your online orders effecting your inventory.


Many stores hire extra staff around their busy seasons. Even if you choose not to, ensure that you schedule more employees around your most crowded times to prevent long lines and understocked shelves.

POS System

Having a good POS system can change everything for grocers around the holidays. A POS system can track your sales volume, whether per hour or per day, but the best systems will also accurately monitor your inventory. If you’re looking for an excellent POS system to help you out during the holidays, check out IT Retail’s software for grocers, by grocers.

Key Takeaways

  • Preparation is key to having a successful holiday season.
  • Use past data to predict when your busiest times are.
  • Know what the most popular products are.
  • Ensure that your inventory is well-stocked, especially for high demand items.
  • Be ready to hire extra staff if needed, and schedule more employees for the busiest times.
  • With a good POS system, you will be able to monitor your inventory and traffic successfully.

Knowing how to prepare for holiday crowds will help you become a successful grocer. If you’re looking for more tips on how to shape a thriving grocery store, subscribe to our blog







Author: George Goodwin

George Goodwin is a Marketing Director for IT Retail POS solution. He has a background in marketing for health food grocery stores and online software. He is a 3rd generation grocer who has worked on business partnerships, social media, website SEO, and content writing. George graduated as a student-athlete in Economics and English from the University of California, Riverside. With a post-graduate degree from Graduate Institution of Biblical Studies.