Is seasonal inventory giving you a hard time? End-of-year holidays challenge business owners and inventory managers not only to order the right quantity of seasonal items at the right time, but also to distribute them effectively across locations. E-commerce stores that keep their items in one place may seem to have it easier, but forecasting inventory needs and optimizing the value of stock remain major issues even for them.
Failing to Balance Inventory Between Locations
Seasonal items often come in different colors and sizes. When a certain seasonal product is stocked in a location in larger numbers than other variants, the result can be disparate sales numbers with understock problems in one location, and a build up of stock in another.
Because seasonal inventory becomes so easily outdated, the resulting costs can be significant. Another problem is that customers interested in seasonal stock don’t usually have the time or the patience to wait for stock replenishment and go instead straight to competitors.
Successfully balancing inventory between locations (or multiple online stores) begins with effective seasonal sales forecasting and predictive analytics. According to a study, no less than 70% of successful businesses manage their inventory with real-time predictive tools. An inventory management cloud app like DataQlick that integrates with your QuickBooks account makes everything easier.
Not Aligning Inventory Needs to Promotions
Ubiquitous during the holiday season, promotions, whether online or in-store, are a powerful strategy to attracting customers who are otherwise bombarded with options. Despite their usual efficiency, however, promotions all too often eschew the rules of ordering and replenishment, leading to low markdown prices and exhausted inventory levels.
The solution is an integrated inventory control app that empowers you to stay in control of all your promotions without risking understock for any of your seasonal, in-demand items. Sales forecasting and predictive analytics are again crucial. Also important is to use an inventory solution that allows for the management of product bundles and kits, which are often part of seasonal promotions, especially during Christmas.
Overstocking Items That Don’t Add Value to Your Inventory
Safety stock can reduce shipment-related problems that often occur in conjunction with seasonal items. That said, it can increase carrying costs or disrupt promotions, depending on whether you’re getting shipments too early or have to fill up incomplete shipments. The cost of safety stock is often overlooked, which is why retailers sometimes don’t optimize it (enough) for seasonal demands and fluctuations.
More safety stock doesn’t necessarily mean more sales, so that increasing it for seasonal variations isn’t the best solution, either. What is needed is a better way to estimate optimal stock levels. Real time-data is important, which is you may want to use a mobile inventory management app as opposed to a standard inventory control solution, which limits your inventory management to the hours when you have access to your computer.
For all its challenges, seasonal inventory can boost your sales during one of the most profitable seasons of the year for many businesses. Learn more about how a mobile inventory control app can improve your seasonal inventory management.