Brace yourselves: winter is coming.

No, not the one from HBO’s Game of Thrones but the much more frightening one between Black Friday and the post-Christmas return rush where your wireless retail store is overwhelmed with lucrative but slightly mad shoppers who are determined to overrun your employees, wipe out your inventory, and battle to the death over the last BB-8 remote control droid from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Wow, that was a lot of pop culture references for one sentence. Let’s get back to the basics.

The holidays might not be until the end of the year, but as a retailer, you’ll want to prepare yourself in advance. From employment rotations to inventory orders, what steps should you be taking to make sure operations run seamlessly during the holiday season? Let’s take a closer look at some innovative ideas to maximize profits and improve operations over the holiday months.

Get creative with your marketing.

The only limits to your holiday marketing is what you can think up. Crazy sales, holiday promotions and visits from Old Saint Nick can not only bring in uncertain customers, but they’re also likely to catch the attention of the local media. Marketing is another area where Envysion video surveillance and analytics can help you fine-tune your holiday specials and promotions. By tracking your marketing displays with video surveillance in conjunction with your traffic and transactions, you can better measure the results of your marketing efforts and better understand the customer experience.

Staff up appropriately.

Use insights gained from past holidays to properly assess the number of sales staff, shipping and receiving crews, stocking associates, cashiers and managers your retail operation needs to keep pushing product out the door during the season where your store is likely to see peak demand. Continue to collect new insights for future holidays with Envysion Insights.

Move your people better.

By using Envysion’s video surveillance system combined with video analytics, you can actually prepare your retail operation in advance to operate most efficiently. By employing video analytics, you can map out all the traffic patterns in store, from the first engagement of customers at the entrance to your store to the lines from your cashier stations to even seeing if your parking lot is adequately designed to handle holiday traffic so holiday shoppers aren’t backed up into main thoroughfares trying to get into your store.

Have enough inventory to meet high demand.

Video analytics can also serve another important function in your retail operation by ensuring that you can track and resupply your inventory in real time. This allows you and your shipping and receiving crews and stocking managers to have a real-time understanding of how much supply is on your shelves, how many BB-8 remote control droids are rolling out the door, and the rate at which your rabid customers are going through them. (Bonus points: video surveillance allows you to identify fraudulent or suspect point-of-sale transactions, which happen to shoot up during not only during the holiday shopping season but also during the equally busy returns season in January).

By giving yourself a smart snapshot of your retail operation in action and using your creativity to set the mood and connect with your customers, you should be well on your way to a fruitful and successful holiday season.