Maximize Sales By Getting Inventory Levels Ready For The Holiday Season
The first step in preparing for the holidays is to make sure you’ve optimized your inventory availability. With the surge of increased sales, it’s important you are ready to support the demand. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry! We’ll walk you through everything you need to make sure you’re ready.
Centralize Your Inventory
How many times have you had to check and re-check inventory stock quantities? And exactly how confident are you in the information you’ve documented? When you manually track inventory and rely on multiple systems, you’re risking missed sales opportunities and your sanity! In this section, we’ll tell you how to setup your inventory operations for success.
Bringing Disparate Systems Together
The challenges of managing inventory is even more difficult when you’re managing across multiple sales channels. If you’re currently using disparate systems to handle stock quantities, purchase orders, invoices and more, the chaos of the holiday season will make growth nearly impossible. You’re leaving your business more vulnerable to human error, overselling and poor customer service – none of the things you want during such a critical time.
Take the reigns over your inventory and start with a central solution that’s going to sync your inventory, orders and sales all within one location so you can easily keep track of what’s happening. This will allow you to quickly respond to low stock quantities and assure customers are getting what they want.
What Features to Look for in an Inventory Platform
It can be tough finding the right solution for your business. Everyone runs their operations differently, and finding one product that serves all your needs is going to take time. Often times, businesses will have to reevaluate their operations process in order to fit a solution they need. But, it’s a small price to pay for scalability. For today, let’s begin with the core of your inventory operations. It all starts with your main priorities – accurate data, cross-channel communication, and actionable insights that help you make smarter business decisions. You want a solution that provides the information you need automatically, but also something that helps give you context and insight. To make the adventure a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of features you should look for when shopping for a solution:
Look for These Key Features in an Inventory Management Solution:
Automatic Multichannel Syncing
Multichannel Order Tracking
Sales Channel Reporting
Low Stock Alerts
Historical Order Imports
Have a Unique Setup? Explore these advanced features:
Product Bundling and Kitting
There’s nothing quite like telling your customers, “Sorry, we no longer have that product,” to crush their spirits. This is damaging to your reputation, customer satisfaction and ultimately – your bottom line. Avoid overselling and maximize every sales opportunity by following these quick tips:
1. Implement an order management system. We can’t stress it enough! Having an automated system that provides you with low stock alerts is going to save you from missed sales opportunities and angry customers. You’ll have a real-time view into what’s selling fastest and automatically send purchase orders to suppliers.
2. Assign an internal inventory champion. If you’re bringing new hires on board for the season, assign one of them to be in charge of monitoring stock quantities across the board. This will boost motivation and provide you with one go-to person for information.
3. Get creative. With automatic order tracking tools, your team can pull reports and figure out what products are performing best. With this data, encourage them to creatively promote less popular items to even the load until you can get more stock of best sellers.
4. Anticipate needs in the market. If you spend some time researching trends before the season begins, you will have a better sense of what might fly off the shelves more quickly. Take a look at what’s trending in your market, what competitors are doing and what your most popular items have been this year so far.
Get your Return Process Ready
The dark side to purchases: returns. It not always bad though. If you’re savvy, customer returns can provide you with another opportunity to upsell and increase retention. The important thing is to remember every interaction counts. Here are the three factors to consider when creating a return process that keeps customers coming back:
Customers like when you provide them with a streamlined system for returns, but make sure this also works for your internal operations. Give very clear guidelines on how, when, and where returns needs to be made. If you do have Final Sale items, make sure they are clearly noted in your inventory, and also denote this in your return policy.
Sure, you’ll receive returns – it’s inevitable! But look at this as an opportunity to interact with customers and sell them products they’ll like even more. Make sure you understand why they are returning the item and make relevant suggestions about what they like. Maybe they’ll even thank you for suggesting a better item!
Convenience is key when it comes to providing a strong experience for customers. After the holidays, no one wants to dive back into the shopping chaos. Make it stupid simple for customers to return items and make the experience memorable.
Brandon Levey holds a BSE and MSE in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan. While working on domestic nuclear security systems analyses at Sandia National Securities, he started two retail businesses on the side. Through his experiences in the design and manufacturing world, he identified many problems faced by small businesses, leading to the eventual launch of Stitch Labs. He is the CEO and founder of Stitch Labs, Inc.
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