Oh the holidays; the most wonderful time of the year – family gatherings and work parties fill the calendar as the countdown begins toward the end of the year. It seems like everyone is buzzing with a holiday spring in their step. But wait, what about the mad dash to sort out holiday gifts for friends and family? The holiday season is also synonymous with gifts and an increase in spending and a little stress to get those gifts.
It’s one of the biggest times of the year for retail. With the ease and convenience of eCommerce shopping, people are turning to this option as their port of call. Whether it’s in-store orders or online purchases, retailers need to manage their inventory to keep up with demand and maximise sales.
Use the right online inventory management system
Online inventory management is one of the best ways to keep your finger on the pulse of your business. Make sure you are using a system that applies to the type of inventory you stock and is scalable. During the holiday season, your orders may skyrocket and your online inventory management system needs to be able to cope.
There are endless benefits to having an integrated online inventory system. You can access information in real-time, from anywhere with internet. This means that you can spend time at home with your family during the holidays and still keep a close eye on what’s happening at the warehouse. If problems arise, it’s easy for you to step out and manage a situation. It’s better to do that than sit at work and miss out on valuable time with your family.
Make order fulfilment a smooth process
Not only do customers want products instantaneously, but they also want flexibility around how they receive them. Let’s say you order two dresses online for your daughter. You want it to be a surprise and you’re afraid if it gets delivered to the front door, she’ll see it before Christmas. However, you don’t have time to go into multiple shops looking for dresses. Rather, you’d prefer to order it online and pick it up in the store. This type of order fulfilment, buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) can be a game-changer during the holiday season. With the right order fulfilment process set up in the store, you can manage your inventory for online purchases and save time and money on delivery.
Analyse previous holiday sales
Demand is difficult to predict. Market fluctuations and consumer preferences vary every year. However, there are general trends that can be tracked. These trends can guide your inventory levels for the holiday season. With an online inventory management system, you have the capability to look back on previous sales at any point in time. This is a huge asset and can prove fundamental in the forecasting process for the holiday season.
Leverage information, analyse data to find patterns and derive informed decisions from previous holiday sales. After all, there’s no point in having systems to track all of this data if you don’t put it to good use!
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.