As a business owner, the holiday shopping season can be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it’s probably one of your busiest and most successful selling seasons. On the other hand, it might also be troublesome regarding inventory management. Knowing your thoughts, we will provide 5 tips to avoid inventory problems holiday season in this blog.
Possible inventory problems in holiday seasons
Firstly, you need to understand the possible inventory problems during holiday seasons. Here are the most common issues:
Stockout is a scenario in which a product or item is completely sold out. During the holiday season, when everyone is in a crazy rush to buy goods, inventories may face stock out. When a client attempts to buy or request a product that is out of stock, there’s a high chance they’ll be disappointed owing to a lack of inventory. A business runs the danger of losing clients if stockouts occur often.
According to research, 46% of customers are concerned about delays in delivery when shopping during holiday seasons. Holidays are the peak shipping season, which for merchants can be a stressful and chaotic time. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the high number of orders. Furthermore, due to the perception of the festive season, customers may anticipate a more pleasant online purchasing experience compared to normal times. Late shipment thus can be a considerable problem.
Inaccurate inventory data
During holidays, many retailers do not have accuracy and visibility into real-time inventory. In many situations, customers have placed an online order just to be informed later that the product is actually out of stock. Disparities between the real stock levels and what is displayed on the eCommerce store can be a disappointment to your customers.
How to avoid these inventory problems?
Create an omnichannel shopping experience
An omnichannel shopping experience can seamlessly connect your online and offline selling locations. As a result, customers will have additional alternatives to purchase from you.
For example, consumers might prefer to explore items online before coming into your store to make a purchase – or vice versa. At the same time, businesses can also make sure that multiple channels can share the heavy traffic.
Interesting as it may sound, you could run into issues if you don’t update your online inventory in real-time when things sell out. Such a circumstance can lead to dissatisfied customers. In the worst-case scenario, customers will move their loyalties to a more trustworthy store.
As the retail business goes omnichannel, it’s important to have software that can sync your inventory between your brick-and-mortar and online locations in real-time. This is when the point of sale (POS) system comes into play. Many point of sale software nowadays, such as ConnectPOS, can automatically sync data across different online and offline platforms. This can prevent incorrect information about your stock levels.
Make inventory forecast
The first stage in getting your inventory ready for the holiday shopping season is to predict demand. To anticipate what will sell over the holiday season, how much stock you’ll need, and how to establish your sales objectives, you’ll need to look at your past sales data and any current patterns.
It’s also vital to assess whether any external variables, such as harsh weather, major events, or competitor activity, may have impacted your data. Could it have been triggered by a storm, for example, if you had a very slow time selling over the holiday season? When reviewing your statistics, keep these factors in mind so you can create realistic sales goals and obtain the inventory you’ll need for the coming holiday season.
Monitor real-time sales
You should have a sense of what’s selling well every day during the holiday season. As a result, you should review both your real-time sales data and your daily sales statistics. This supports you in making strategic marketing choices.
Let’s say your custom dresses are selling fast. That’s a solid sign you should advertise the item on social media and send out an email marketing campaign with a “selling fast” message. To attract shoppers’ attention, you should place that item front and center in your store window — and promote it in your online store.
Moreover, monitoring real-time sales can also help store owners to restock on time. It can thus boost sales since customers will not miss out on any out-of-stock items.
Place your orders early
We recommend placing your order as soon as possible before the holiday season begins to avoid inventory problem. For example, people are beginning their Christmas shopping earlier than ever before — as early as October. Purchasing ahead of time ensures that the product you want is available. Remember that your competitors can purchase from the same vendors as you. On-trend products, in particular, will be in great demand (such as the Frozen-themed children’s products in 2013, following the film’s release in November). For this reason, if you want to prevent missing out on popular products, order well in advance.
Sell your overstocks at a reasonable price
Stock that does not sell can be extremely costly to your company for a variety of reasons. You not only have money invested in any unsold products, but you also have to pay to store them. However, no matter how effectively you predict demand, entirely eliminating overages is challenging. So, what do you do with any Christmas stock that refuses to go away?
You can try to sell your overstocks at a cheap price to clear out leftovers faster. Additionally, you can also take your stock online and promote it to a larger audience. This increases your chances of earning a sale. With technology like an omnichannel POS as stated above, you can effortlessly connect your in-store system to an online platform.
Now that you know the top 5 tips to avoid inventory problems holiday season, it’s time to think about how to actually execute it in real life. If you are interested in our point-of-sale solution, ConnectPOS, don’t hesitate to give it a try via our 14-day free trial. You can always ask questions or discuss with us your plan whenever possible via this link.