Managing inventory in a seasonal business may need a slightly different approach than businesses who experience steady demand throughout the year. In this article, we outline how business owners can effectively manage inventory in their seasonal business.
Research and Predict Demand Trends
While you may have a general idea of when demand will pick up for your goods or services, to be successful you may need to know a little more about the specifics. If you own a ski store, for example, you can obviously predict that business will pick up during winter time. However, it is important to be aware that demand changes yearly according to the popularity of certain items. So, before the busy period begins you should look at not only historical data to identify fast-moving items, but also check out the current competition to see what items they are showcasing the most.
In doing so, you will be able to differentiate between popular and unpopular items and tailor your stock orders accordingly. This way you will be able to make accurate orders that reflect the types of demand you will be expecting, so that you can effectively capitalise on any upcoming trends.
Ensure Accurate Inventory Stock Take
When your peak season swings around, you will be extremely busy with front-of-house tasks like selling and creating relationships with customers. This means that inventory control will likely fall by the wayside during this time. Therefore, before the peak season arrives you need to make sure you conduct an accurate stock take. The best way to do this is to use automated technology like barcodes and scanners to accurately count stock levels.
By taking an accurate stock take before the peak season arrives, you will be able to provide accurate information to customers on stock levels, generating better customer satisfaction all around.
Additionally, you’ll be able to ensure that you have as little as possible obsolete stock from over ordering. In the same vein you won’t find yourself coming up short on popular products from under-ordering.
Clean the Stock Room
Lastly, before the busy season swings around you want to make sure your stock room is clean, tidy and as accessible as possible. Use the slow period before the peak season to throw out any rubbish, sweep, and organise stock into their own categories and spaces.
Depending on how much time you have, you may even want to organise stock into colours, sizes and more. Put each product in its own distinct area and label it accordingly. This way, when the busy season arrives you won’t have to spend hours out the back sifting through piles of inventory to find what you are looking for.
Making sure your stock room is clean and accessible before the peak season is a great way to manage your inventory. It will not only make your job easier, but it is also likely to increase your chances of sales since customers won’t have to wait around while you try and find the product they are after.
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.