Seasonality might make you think of the holiday season but seasonality is not exclusive to Christmas, Easter or Halloween! Seasonality also encompasses the summer seasonal boom. As the mercury rises, don’t get caught unprepared for the onslaught of demand. Here are some tips for avoiding mistakes during the summer season using online inventory management.
Analyse past trends to make more accurate predictions
When it comes to preparing for higher demand, tracking past trends will help make predictions of how much stock will be needed. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to use online inventory management to track stock levels. Investing money to switch to online inventory management will save time and boost profit in the future, ultimately making it a worthwhile investment. By storing the data from previous years, you can compare demand levels from different years to better estimate future demand.
Similarly, analysing content and advertising campaigns from your competitors’ social media will inspire new ideas of how to better promote your business. Tracking Twitter mentions, Facebook updates and other public relations tactics can offer insight into what works and what doesn’t, showing you where you can improve in the future. Analysing your own advertising trends can also draw conclusions of how successful the past year was, allowing for adjustments to be made for the next season.
Don’t start sales too late and don’t discount too much
Summer sales are not as simple as discounting all your inventory. The common mistake of starting sale discounts too steep is dangerous for your businesses’ bottom line. Especially if your business is still on the smaller scale, offering large discounts can be extremely damaging to your business sustainability. An effective way to combat this is by using online inventory management software to track incoming and outgoing stock. This will allow easy access to information regarding ordering costs and how much you can discount to keep running at a profit.
For smaller businesses, large discounts aren’t as feasible, and realistically your sales will not be able to keep up with big chain stores. However, customers shopping at niche stores are more likely to spend more than at large retailers because it is assumed the quality is better. This can be used to your advantage, meaning modest discounts won’t leave you struggling for business.
It is important to plan sales beforehand, pre-empting the seasonal demand. Many companies make the mistake of starting their sales too late in the season, when people have less money and time to spend shopping. The most effective way to predict seasonal demand for your business is to analyse past inventory levels. This ensures forecasts are tailored to your business and therefore keeps your profits at a maximum and lessens idle inventory.
Increase your advertising budget
Many smaller businesses make the mistake of under-promoting or not attempting to advertise. Consider increasing your advertising budget and investing more in social media ads. These are relatively affordable and improves brand identification, meaning more people are more likely to browse your store or website. The analytics for advertising on platforms such as Facebook offer valuable insight into who is engaging with your ads, and from there you can evaluate how to best attract customers.
It’s clear that the best way small businesses can manage the seasonal demand is to plan ahead. Using inventory software to track stock levels and sales can estimate future demand more accurately. Keeping up with competitors’ advertising trends can offer insight into how to better promote your own company, and investing more money into advertising will create a better brand identity that is recognisable to new customers. Most importantly, planning sales ahead of time to ensure you are still running at a profit and capitalising on the summer season.
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.