Blog Supply Chain What To Do When Products Go Viral
09 July, 2024

What To Do When Products Go Viral

You’ve struck digital gold with a viral product. Perhaps an influencer endorsed it, or the algorithm smiled on your post. When your product goes viral, it brings a wave of excitement and an influx of orders that can transform your business. 

However, this sudden surge in demand can sink your company if you’re unprepared. We’ll help you understand how to efficiently manage this unexpected sales surge so you can maintain customer satisfaction and capitalize on new opportunities.

How to handle a surge in sales and orders

When the initial euphoria wears off, the shock of your new workload can feel overwhelming. Let’s look at how to capitalize on a viral product.

Assess your current inventory

Evaluating your current inventory helps you make informed decisions to meet a sudden demand surge while setting accurate expectations with customers.

Imagine you sell a long-lasting mascara that goes viral after a prominent influencer features it in a TikTok video. You check your inventory levels and realize you only have 500 units left, and orders will quickly exceed that.

You’ll need to plan timely replenishments, arrange financing for extra stock to quickly meet the demand for the viral product, and communicate with customers.

Scale up production

Increasing production can help you meet demand and sell more products that go viral. 

Inventory management software like Cin7, which offers advanced manufacturing features to increase production capability and efficiency, is key. Cin7’s advanced manufacturing module provides a 360-degree view of your inventory posture and production environment and helps you make more products at a lower cost and in less time.

Cin7’s capacity planning feature will help you optimize your processes so you have the right materials, equipment, and labor to meet the surge in demand.

Inform your supply chain partners

As soon as you notice a surge in demand, contact your supply chain partners to give them time to adjust their operations for the increased volume. 

Schedule meetings with key partners to discuss the surge, strategize how to manage it effectively, and address potential issues proactively. This will also reduce the risk of incurring additional costs due to rushed shipping or emergency purchases.

How to manage stock and expectations during a sales surge

Going viral is a thrilling experience for any small business. But how do you effectively manage your stock and target audience’s expectations?

Let’s look at how you can smoothly navigate the uptick in demand while maintaining customer satisfaction.

Implement real-time inventory tracking

Tracking your stock levels in real-time helps you gain a clear, up-to-the-minute view of your inventory and enables you to make informed decisions during high-demand periods.

Use an inventory management solution like Cin7 to streamline your inventory levels across all of your sales platforms. Cin7 integrates with e-commerce tools like Shopify and WooCommerce and marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy to provide an up-to-date view of your stock levels across all your sales channels.

You can also set up automated stock updates to instantly reflect retail sales, returns, and new stock arrivals.

One of the hidden dangers of a sales surge is overstocking. Viral products generally run their course and can leave you with capital tied up in unwanted stock. Cin7 can help you avoid overstocking to protect your capital

Communicate with customers

Clear communication lets you handle customers’ expectations to manage frustration and disappointment. One way to communicate clearly is to keep your website accurate. 

Inventory management tools like Cin7 can update product availability automatically. You can also add stock alerts on your product pages with features like “Only X left in stock” or “Back in stock on [date]” to manage customer expectations.

Additionally, use your social media channels to provide timely updates on restocks. You can also engage with customers in the comments section to answer questions and provide real-time support.

Likewise, update shoppers via personalized emails if stock changes to improve the customer experience. Be sure to create email versions in all of the primary languages your website supports, not just English.

Let’s look at two examples that show how to communicate effectively with customers during stock changes.

Out of stock email example

An out of stock email updates customers when inventory changes or delays occur. 

Subject line: Important Update on Your Recent Order

Dear [customer name],

Thank you for your recent purchase from [store name]. We’re thrilled to have you as a valued customer!

An abrupt surge in demand for [the product] has left us temporarily out of stock. We understand how disappointing this can be and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

We have two great options for you to consider.

  • Waitlist: You can choose to wait for the item to be restocked. We expect new inventory to arrive by [estimated restock date]. You’ll receive a notification when it does.
  • Alternative products: We have similar products that might interest you. Check out these options [link to alternative products].

Thank you for your understanding and patience. We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you again soon.

Best regards,

[Your signature block]

Back in stock email example

Back in stock emails notify customers when popular products are available to encourage reorders, capture sales lost to out of stock notices on your website, and maintain sales momentum.

Here’s an example.

Subject line: Great News! [product name] is Back in Stock!

Dear [customer name],

We have some exciting news for you!

Our highly sought-after [product name] is back in stock at [store name]. We know you’ve been waiting for this, and we’re thrilled to let you know it’s available for purchase again.

Here’s why you should grab it now:

  • Limited quantity: Our stock won’t last long due to high demand.
  • Exclusive offer: Enjoy a [discount] on your order if you purchase within the next [time frame].
  • Perfect timing: Get your hands on [product name] just in time for [relevant occasion/event].

Shop now: [Link to product page]

Thank you for being a valued customer. We appreciate your patience and support.

Happy Shopping!

Best regards,

[Your signature block]

How Cin7 helps product businesses manage a surge in sales and orders

Cin7 is an intelligent commerce platform that helps SMBs handle sales surges effectively so they can continue being profitable and keep customers happy.

Some key features that Cin7 offers include:

Forecasting

Accurate forecasting helps you anticipate which products will be in high demand. This allows you to optimize your stock levels, capitalize on your product’s viral success, and boost sales and revenue.

Inventoro’s AI-powered sales forecasting offers real-time forecasts and replenishment optimization with enterprise-level accuracy, which helps you better prepare for sales surges. You also get daily updates on which products to order, when, and in what amounts to meet customer demand while avoiding overstock.

Most sales surges happen around holidays and events like Black Friday. In fact, over 80% of customers intend to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2024. Cin7 can help you prepare for a seasonal surge in demand. 

Remember that seasonal surges may vary by location. For example, Americans will be interested in beach products at different times than Australians.

Advanced manufacturing capabilities

When handling a surge in demand, Cin7’s advanced manufacturing capabilities can help keep your production processes efficient through:

  • Comprehensive production management: During a surge in orders, Cin7’s 360-degree view of your production environment becomes invaluable. It allows you to oversee everything, from materials and labor to shop floors and work centers, helping you streamline your entire production process and avoid any bottlenecks.
  • Capacity planning: With Cin7, you can connect your factory calendar to resource availability. As a result, you always have the right people, equipment, and materials to meet demand.
  • End-to-end BOM traceability: Cin7 allows you to track material flow seamlessly between setup, manufacturing, and quality control processes. This traceability becomes crucial when sales surge, as it simplifies complex production operations, maintains high-quality outputs, and ensures efficient use of resources to meet the heightened demand.

Integration with third-party logistics

Cin7 integrates seamlessly with third-party logistics (3PL) providers like Fulfillment by Amazon and Shipwire, making order processing and fulfillment efficient. This integration is crucial during viral moments as it often means faster picking, packing, and shipping, which allows you to handle the increased demand without compromising delivery times or service quality to ensure customer satisfaction.

Emergency funding

Funds are crucial during a sales surge. You need capital to buy additional stock without the delays often associated with securing loans or waiting for revenue from online sales. 

Most businesses need help to gain access to credit and avoid high interest rates.

Cin7 Capital, available to US-based core customers starting in late July 2024, offers integrated lending opportunities to help you run and expand your business efficiently during high-demand periods. With invoice financing, you get up to 90% of the cash value of sales orders upfront without waiting 30-60 days to receive the money you need to keep your business running smoothly.

Note: When launched Cin7 Capital will only be available to US-based Core users there are plans to expand to Cin7 Omni customers and businesses based outside the US.

How to manage post-viral success

How you manage your business after a sales surge determines whether you’ll be profitable in the long term. Let’s look at the measures you should implement to make sure your company builds on this viral success.

Monitor return rates

Return rates help you determine product quality and customer satisfaction. High return rates may mean customers have issues with your product’s quality. On the other hand, low return rates generally suggest that most shoppers are satisfied with their purchases. 

The Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) module allows your sales team to efficiently handle returns, exchanges, and refunds. With the RMA system, you can log all return requests, including the reason for return, product condition, and customer information. 

As a result, you can identify recurring issues with specific products or batches, which allows you to address quality control problems and improve future production.

Cin7 Core’s RMA module helps you configure your company’s return policies, which you can then use to streamline your returns decision-making and automate a significant portion of the returns workflow.

Plan for sustainability

To remain profitable after your viral success follow these three tips:

  • Reevaluate inventory levels: Post-viral success can lead to fluctuating demand as consumer interest levels off or drops after the initial surge in sales. Reassess your stock regularly to maintain a balanced inventory that aligns with actual demand.
  • Update demand forecasts: Refine your sales forecasts using updated data from AI-driven tools like Inventoro for accurate predictions and better preparation for future surges. Make sure your tool accounts for a surge from last year so it doesn’t throw off next year’s predictions.
  • Optimize the supply chain: Monitor and adjust your supply chain processes based on updated forecasts. Ensure that your suppliers and logistics partners are aligned with your sustainability goals and can support fluctuating demand.

Turn your viral products into sustainable growth with Cin7

You need an effective sales strategy, good communication with customers, and the right tools to successfully manage a surge in sales from a viral product.

Cin7 offers a robust and scalable solution that equips you with everything you need to handle a sales surge so you can sustain long-term growth.

Start your free trial with Cin7 today and turn your viral products into lasting success.

Stop managing your inventory.
Start connecting it.