Each year, Valentine’s Day sales reach an average of $13.19 billion.

That’s a big chunk of change! If you are a retail business (specifically a candy, flower or jewelry store) it’s probably one of your busiest days of the year. But how do you ensure that this year’s Valentine’s Day sales are top notch? Leveraging your POS system is a good place to start. Here are 5 steps to make sure that you’re maximizing your sales this V-Day.

Run Reports From Last Year

Unless it’s your first year in business, if you’ve been using a POS system, you should have valuable data from this time last year to reference. During the weeks before Christmas, we walked you through how to forecast trends for the holiday season. Though it might seem tedious, do the same for this time of year and determine your year-to-date sales volume compared to last year. Establishing a baseline will help you determine what you should expect from this year’s Valentine’s Day rush and what you can improve to increase sales during the holiday. For example, if you know that sales are up 20% from this time last year, it’s reasonable to expect that sales on Valentine’s Day will be as well. Take this information and apply it to the inventory you’ll be ordering. You want to make sure you have enough inventory that you don’t sell out, but not too much that you’ll be bogged down with items you can’t sell. If you’re looking for a little help with inventory, here’s how to show your inventory who’s boss.

Start Early With Your Customers

If you’ve been diligently collecting email addresses with your iPad-based POS, this list is solid gold, so use it! You’re already coming up with amazing Valentine’s Day promotions and sales; so don’t keep them to yourself! The sooner you let your loyal (and new) customers know about discounts in your store, the better. The worst thing you can do is announce promotions too late and miss out on business because your most loyal customers already finished their shopping.

Valentine’s Day sale.

Send out one email a week before your promotion begins and then a follow-up email a few days before Valentine’s Days. This last email will help to create a sense of urgency and will get customers through your door. Because the only thing worse than leaving your shopping to the last minute, is forgetting Valentine’s Day altogether! If you need some guidance on how to use email marketing to increase sales, we’ve got your back. Checkout Email Marketing Matters: 5 Tips for Success.

Offer Coupons At The Bottom Of Your Receipts

Another great way to keep your customers in the loop and get them excited about a holiday is to advertise upcoming promotions at the bottom of receipts. You can also provide new and loyal customers with coupons that they can use in addition to already-existing discounts. Trust us on this one; there is nothing customers like more than a discount on top of a discount! We love them, don’t you?

SEE ALSO: Small Business Marketing Tips that Slaughter the Competition

Prepare For Peak Days and Hours

It’s great to be able to forecast what you expect for your Valentine’s Day sales, but it’s also important to know when these sales will happen. You might be expecting to make X dollar amount, but do you know what days of the week or what hours of the day are most profitable? In order to live up to your expectations, you need to be prepared for when those customers come a-knocking. This means having a good sense of what your busiest days and times are in your store. Take a look at your current busiest days and times and make sure that you have plenty additional staff scheduled to work those shifts.

Valentine’s Day prep.

It’s also important to be able to anticipate a rush. Valentine’s Day 2016 is on a Sunday. So if Saturdays tend to be a slower day for you, but last year you saw a surge the day before the holiday, it’s best to expect it might happen again this year. So be prepared and schedule a few additional employees for this day.

Then…Utilize Your Strongest Employees

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: You’re employees are your number one resource in running a smarter and more profitable business. And we hate to say it, but not all employees are creating equal. Though everyone on your staff has their own unique strengths, some are going to be quicker on their feet and thus more productive during peak hours. To determine who your most valuable employees are, run a ‘sales by employee’ report. Those that are top-notch on your staff are the ones you’ll want to have on hand when things get hectic. So leverage those employees by offering them an extra shift or asking them to switch to a busier one. You might need to make it worth their while, but if you explain it’s because they’re a top employee, they’ll feel proud of their work and be more likely to oblige. Then, if you’re looking for more advice on staff management, take a look at our post on how employee reporting with your POS can change your business.

Know Your Top Customers

You now know who your best employees are, but how well do you know your top customers? Using you POS, take a look to see who your most loyal patrons are and make a note in each of their accounts. Next time they are in the store and checking out, ask them if they had anything special in mind for Valentine’s Day and if there is anything you can do to help them surprise their special someone. This will not only give you a good idea for what you should be ordering, but it’s great customer service. Your employees will be touched by the gesture and more likely to return to your store to make that special purchase.

A pet and their owner checking out at a pet store.

Remember, much of preparing for the holidays is trial and error. The longer you’re in business, the easier it will seem. And though there might not be a scientific equation for maximizing your Valentine’s Day sales, if there was a magic wand, your POS system might just be it.

Sara Sugar

Sara Sugar

As Managing Editor at ShopKeep, a leading iPad Point of Sale System, Sara Sugar uses her distinguished journalism background to boil down small business and point of sale topics.