As seasons change, your inventory stock should follow suit but seasonal sales can be a tricky one to manage. A lot of planning is involved in the sale of seasonal products. Timing is a big factor when it comes to managing an ever-changing inventory stock. For instance, having winter inventory stock won’t prove very advantageous for business in summer.
Seasonal sales can be divided in a variety of ways depending on the business. Some retailers’ sales are dependent on the traditional weather seasons: winter, spring, summer and autumn. Other seasonal divisions can come through the tax season and end of the financial year. Moreover, seasonal sales can be determined by holidays, such as Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day. No matter how your business divides your respective seasons, it’s important to plan accordingly.
Let’s take a closer look at how to manage seasonality and provide some handy tips to make the most of your sales throughout the year.
Do your industry research
Having a solid understanding of your industry’s sales patterns is extremely helpful for planning. Since sales will fluctuate depending on the season, it’s helpful to identify the peak times. By looking at previous industry sales data, you may be able to identify seasonal fluctuations.
Changes in the economy can have a huge impact on sales, that’s why it is important to look at data from several years back. This way you can anticipate seasonal sales more accurately. Attending industry conferences can be a good way to gain a deeper understanding of the industry.
Diversify your products
When you’re handling seasonal items, those items often decrease in demand once the season is over. This could be clothes or even infrastructure. Take for example, skiing industry – ski fields invest millions of dollars into chair lifts, cafes and mountain village entertainment. For many resorts, when the snow stops, so do the sales.
However, more resorts are now keeping their chair lifts running through summer. They are building mountain bike tracks on their ski fields and opening up a whole new realm of business during their off-season. Once the snow has melted, these mountain bikers pay to use the chair lifts, rent accommodation and go out to eat at the restaurants; they are keeping many sleepy mountain industries alive in summer. If you are a retailer, you can look to diversify your stock and sell other items during your off-season as well.
Take advantage of the quiet periods
During the off-season, it can be quiet for sales. However, that doesn’t mean it needs to be quiet for your overall business. Take advantage of this time to do strategic planning for your business. This type of planning takes dedicated time and thought, time that you can’t afford during the peak season! Planning for the bigger picture is incredibly important for the longevity of your business.
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.