The holiday season is here. Christmas trees are up, houses are decorated, and people have started their holiday shopping. Supply and demand are the best (and sometimes worst) entities for most retail businesses. However, inventory management is important to more than just retailers. They are critical for eCommerce websites as well. So, what should you be doing to make this a successful holiday season for your business?
You know what you have access to and what current trends are. Sure, you might not get all of your best-seller picks right, but as long as you’re hitting about 80%, you should be golden this season. Look over your previous year’s top selling items and see if it is something that is still popular. If it is, it’s a good idea to increase your stock of those items.
You can also look for new items that are being released for the first time and compare them to similar items from previous years. Did those items do well in the past or did they flop? This will give you a good idea on what is going to work and what won’t.
The more organized your warehouse is, the smoother and faster everything will go. If things are put away properly, they are easy to find, then orders get filled (and shipped) faster. If things are put away neatly, employees are not getting hurt and merchandise is not getting damaged. Eliminating those two factors will save you a lot of time and money this holiday season. Cases of warehouse injury due to fatigue and messy work areas and aisles are the leading cause of workman’s compensation cases for businesses during the holiday season.
If you have not considered using some type of RF or automated reordering system, you may want to. Otherwise, make sure you have someone reviewing your current inventory levels on a regular (daily) basis. Whether you are doing physical counts of your products or comparing starting inventory levels to the total number of sales, it has to be done.
The more accurate the numbers are, the better you can protect yourself from falling out of stock on certain products. Also, verify with the supplier how long items, such as your projected best-sellers, will take to get delivered. You can use that information, in conjunction with how current sales are going, to figure out when the best time to reorder a product is.
Efficiency is the key to any successful business. See if you can implement new steps that improve your employee’s ability to process, pack, and ship orders. You can do this a number of ways, but the most common method is to add additional seasonal employees.
You can also set up additional temporary staging areas for the packaging of your items while clerks verify the orders prior to shipping them out. This increases the accuracy of products being shipped, which means your available inventory counts will be accurate on your eCommerce website.
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