Essential Tips on Stocking Inventory for Holiday Shopping Season Every Retailer Should Know
It’s coming up to that crazy time of year again, where festive decorations adorn shop windows, Christmas music plays on a constantly repeating loop, and retailers stock up for the holiday season before the start of Thanksgiving. Consumers are taking to the internet now more than ever, and with the logistical bottleneck certain items can create in terms of coast-to-coast gifting, retailers are having to be prepared.
Thanks to holiday madness and the increase in consumer demand, retailers are getting to grips with forward planning in almost a do-or-die scenario – those who are unprepared tend to suffer the consequences, and you should be thinking about promotions, designs and retail storage solutions that will keep your business afloat. So, are you ready?
Launch your promotions early
Thanks to the increase in online shoppers, the holiday season has become far more compressed with many retailers choosing to launch their promotions a little earlier than previously seen in response to the evolving market.
UPS Retail’s Melanie Alavi goes into a little more detail:
“Black Thursday is a prime example. Many retail customers are planning to be open on Thanksgiving to get an earlier start on the holiday shopping season.”
The general rule of thumb is, the more you plan ahead, the smoother things tend to go when it comes to holiday season retail. According to vice president of GS1 US, Melanie Nuce, you should aim to start planning up to eight months in advance, at least in regards to the supply chain.
“Most retailers need a 15 day ramp-up when bringing on holiday help. Since it takes a couple of weeks to onboard someone and train them, you have to have a strategy to account for the slowdown in volume and operations to bring on those new team members. Have that plan in place well ahead of the time you actually see the increase in demand. Staffing is critical, so know when your busiest time is coming and have those people hired. For the holidays, it should be before November 1.”
Your sales plan should always include an inventory strategy, including the implementation of second source suppliers to help you diversify and spread your demand. You should also determine holiday shelf-keeping units (SKU) by model, region and channel, as well as looking at packaging and designs for your promotions early on.
Your retail storage solutions should be accessible, clearly marked and allow you to keep your products organized and secure for the big holiday rush. Organization it essential when it comes to keeping your inventory in order, and should allow you to keep an eye on your stock when it starts to deplete. This is particularly important, as when you run out, your customers won’t wait around, and will likely take their business elsewhere.
Our advice is to take your time planning out your promotions, designing packing, training staff and ensuring you have the right retail storage solutions so you’re prepared for the busy season ahead.