The fast-approaching holiday season will see a sales spike for many wholesalers and retailers. Observers anticipate greater year-on-year growth across all channels than we saw in 2016. A lot of brands prepare for spikes by piling on the products and temporary staff. However, when it comes to inventory, that approach may turn out to be too broad. Without proper management, a brand can end up with too much of one thing, and not enough of another.
The Sales Spike Scramble
Anticipated demand for Christmas is leading to a predictable rush to hire more workers. In fact, with more sales going online, logistics firms are staffing up in preparation for record-breaking numbers of deliveries. Meanwhile, physical retailers look to add seasonal workers or pay full-timers more to put in longer hours where the labor market is too tight. It may be a mistake to ignore the need for more manpower to handle the Christmas sales spike. But, that’s just part of the story. Inventory insight, planning, and automation can go a long way to lowering costs, meet demand and maintain smooth operations.
Know What Sells, Know Who Buys
Any business that wants to prepare for sales spike really needs to know which of their products sell best, which don’t and what customers buy them. To that end, businesses must have access to current and historical data. Generally speaking, 20% of your products will account for 80% of your sales. Tracking customer, sales, stock-on-hand, aging stock helps you to identify those products and even where to hold them before they sell.
Adjust Inventory Accordingly
Data can give businesses the power to meet demand. For example, let’s say you know how quickly your best-selling products go out the door. Then you’ll have a better idea of how soon to place orders with your suppliers to meet an anticipated sales spike. Not only that, but you’ll have a better idea of how much to hold in stock to meet demand. Optimizing stock levels helps avoid the cost of holding too much of a product for too long, or running out of a product and losing sales.
Automate Fulfillment Processes
For online sellers, a sales spike means a spike in orders to process and fulfill. The amount of administration and staff involved will skyrocket if a business processes orders and arranges fulfillment manually. Moreover, they’ll have a more difficult time keeping accurate stock on hand as orders fly out the door. An inventory management system that can automatically process, route and fulfill eCommerce and marketplace orders will make it easier to handle a spike in sales.
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