With Future Holidays, you want to make sure that you have enough stock to fill your shelves and ship to your customers. In anticipation of the influx of holiday shoppers, having sufficient merchandise on display gives your shoppers more to see and the longer they will likely stay in your store to shop. However, you don’t want to be buried in holiday inventory if your merchandise doesn’t get sold, and you don’t want the same items still on display when the new year arrives.
Here are a few tips to help you minimize overstock inventory during the holidays:
- INVENTORY FORECASTING SOFTWARE.
Looking at previous years’ holiday sales can help you gauge how much inventory you need to have. However, you wouldn’t want to rely solely on past sales to predict how good your sales will be this year. A good tool to use during these times would be inventory forecasting software. Inventory planning will be more accurate and carry less risks when your are able to strike a balance between projected customer demand and on-hand supply using retail-based algorithms and sales histories combined with anticipated promotional sales.
- USE MULTIPLE CHANNELS TO ADVERTISE.
If you are holding a sale or a promotion, you should use as many marketing channels as possible to make sure that you reach your target audience. Sure, you can expect random customers during the holidays, but using flyers and mailers and sending email or making a call can spell the difference between a full shelf of untouched merchandise and a line of customers at your check-out counter. Holiday shoppers are looking for great deals – make sure they know about yours.
- PREPARE YOUR FULFILLMENT CAPABILITIES.
If you should ever run out of stock for a particular item, make sure that your customers can avail of it another way. Direct them to your website, or better yet, just take their order right then and there and offer to ship one to them or to contact them once stock becomes available. It also helps to have a timeline to give to your customer, otherwise they may just purchase from somewhere else. If possible, incentivize your offer with free shipping or free gift-wrapping to make up for the inconvenience of not having the merchandise on hand.
- GET PAYMENT UP FRONT ON SPECIAL ORDERS.
If you will be placing a special order for a customer, make sure that you get the payment in advance. For instance, items that are marketable to a small group, like big shoes sizes, would simply end up sitting on your shelf or stock room if your customer doesn’t come back for them. However, it is imperative that you know you can deliver if you use this approach.
- TAP INTO PAST PURCHASERS.
Make sure to market to previous buyers of your items. Review your sales records to find out which buyers usually buy certain items or certain brands, that way you can efficiently market certain products in your inventory to those people. Provide them with holiday discounts and other incentives.
Don’t be burdened with excess inventory. Follow these tips and make the most of your inventory this holiday season.