Managing the inventory of your ecommerce business on normal days is not a walk in the park. How much more during the holiday shopping season? We can only describe that in one word – chaos.
Everyone loves to go on shopping sprees during the holidays, buying gifts from one store to another for people they love. Most shoppers even take the holiday season as the perfect time to spoil themselves with gifts too!
Considering this reality in mind, the best thing you can do for your business right now is to keep your inventory control. Doing this strategy in preparation for the holiday rush will help in keeping things smooth for your business, and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed with all the orders coming your way too.
While this can be very challenging, staying on top of your inventory can do wonders for your business. Here at Clearinity, we believe that preparing your inventory can help you consider this holiday as “the most wonderful time of the year” for your ecommerce business.
Get Your Inventory Right This Holiday Season
We can never truly say that the Covid-19 pandemic is nearly over. But despite this reality, nothing can stop consumers from skipping the highlight of the holiday season – buying gifts!
A recent survey done by Inmar Intelligence reported that at least 60% of their respondents say that they’re willing to spend at least $400 for holiday gifts alone, taking advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. The survey also indicates that consumers will spend more this year than last year.
With that being said, consumers highly expect products to be available across all touchpoints of businesses. Thus, leaving business owners highly accountable to secure their customers a meaningful buying experience during the holiday season by stocking up on inventory.
From a business standpoint, this holiday is a great opportunity to enjoy a piece of the pie of at least $136 billion in sales that is forecasted to hit the market.
Inventory Management Practices: The Solution
What steps can your business take to keep your customers happy?
While there can be many ways to answer this, one of the best solutions will always be inventory management. Every holiday, business owners expect a surge of orders. Some even take this season as the perfect opportunity to bounce back on their balance sheet after nearly a year of operating on red alert.
This is where inventory management practices come into play. When you prepare your inventory even months before the holiday rush, you get to set your business for success over the holidays while preventing anything from going haywire.
With inventory management practices in place, you also prevent your business from experiencing deadstock and even run out of products as a surge of orders come in.
A real-time inventory management system in place also serves as a massive solution to your business, as it allows you to view all your stock levels, product, and stock locations bringing in real-time knowledge. This helps you gain better control and accuracy when planning your inventory, thus resulting in keeping your customers happy and satisfied.
8 Best Holiday Inventory Management Practices
With the holidays creeping in quickly, you should prepare for the holiday sales spike. The last thing you want to have is frustrated customers, which can end up with your business losing potential revenue. The good news is that there are a lot of inventory management practices that can help you gear up for the holiday season!
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to plan your inventory, there are many ways to prevent your business from experiencing errors during the busiest season of the year.
- Check Your Data From Last Year
Doing a sales forecast is a massive help to ensure you stock up the right number of products. But of course, you should do away with all the guesswork and assumptions. Rather, look back at your own sales history so you can refer to concrete data.
Check out how your sales were doing during last year’s holiday. While customers shop differently every year, the data coming from our previous year’s sales history is a good starting point for your forecasting.
- Connect With Your Suppliers
Another way to secure your inventory for the holidays is reaching out early to your suppliers and vendors. As the demand for your products significantly increases, it’s best to stock up early to guarantee that you secure your predicted order volume for your customers, avoiding any stockouts.
Just like you, they also need an early heads up to guarantee they can make successful deliveries to your orders. As an inventory manager, always keep in mind that both manufacturers and suppliers are your solid partners in the supply chain. When you build out a process that works for everyone, you set your business for success.
- Secure Your Orders In Advance
Make sure to use your historical inventory data to help you secure better estimates before you order your inventory.
Aside from using your sales history, one strategy that can help you secure your orders in advance is through doing online research on the products that are in high demand this holiday season. Doing this will help you prepare which products to exactly stock up on.
- Prepare Your Calendars
Don’t let the holiday season creep into your doorstep unannounced. Avoid this by securing your calendar containing holiday reminders. This strategy will help you become more organized, and so will your team members. Make sure that your organization is on the loop of reminders, to make sure they are aware of any reminders or coordinations vital for the holiday season.
Here’s one more thing you might want to add to your calendars – cutoff date orders. This will help prevent your business from overstretching.
- Set Your Stock Levels
Plan out your inventory to ensure your business is in a comfortable position to cater to your customer’s shopping demands. If you know what you need for the holiday season, your inventory level can’t go on haywire.
Use your inventory management software to track your stock levels. Automate it to set reorder notifications shall you need to replenish your stocks to cover sale spikes.
- Use Credible Sources To Forecast Demand
Aside from using the data from your previous sales history, it’s good to note that there are many credible sources online you can visit to uncover sales forecasts of the season. Some of the sources you can look into are:
- Ecommerce blogs
- Competitor sites
- SEO tools
Keeping an eye on the trends and conversations seen in these resources will help you decide which products to stock on.
- Audit Your Inventory
Always move towards maintaining accurate inventory. To achieve this, you must conduct regular inventory audits, especially during the busy holiday season.
The best way to audit your inventory is by checking on your COGS (Cost Of Goods Sold) against your yield. Doing this will help you identify which are your most profitable items, which can highly influence your decisions on restocking, and even your promotions and marketing.
- Implement Inventory Management
Monitor your stock levels during the holiday season by using your inventory management software. By implementing this, you can easily keep track of your business systems and prevent stockout or over-ordering issues.
Your inventory management software can even look out your inventory numbers for you during some of the busiest days of the holiday season like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or even Christmas day. For all you know, tracking your inventory flow can even help you make improvements to your inventory for the next holiday season!
Stay Ahead Of Your Competition – Plan Your Inventory Early
Although the holidays may bring an uncertain number of orders and sales, having inventory management in place can mitigate any unknown challenges for your business. When you plan out ahead of time, you can easily identify the best solutions to organize your inventory. Doing this can also guarantee that you focus on your business priorities better.
Don’t be discouraged by the amount of pressure expected during the holiday season. Focus on your main goal – and that’s staying ahead of your inventory game so you can keep both your customers and yourself happy during the most wonderful time of the year.
Clearinity believes that by helping you create more happy customers, we also get to help you achieve better sales. Thus, resulting in keeping your brand on top. Your success in the ecommerce ecosystem is our success too!