Business Trends

 

11 17 2016

11 17 2016

4 Holiday Inventory Management Tips for Small Businesses

One of the most important tasks for small business owners during the holiday season is ensuring you have enough products on the shelves for your customers. After sending out email blasts listing all your deals and promotions, not having the advertised sale items in stock can lead to poor customer satisfaction, a loss of revenue and even a ruined reputation.

As noted by the National Retail Federation, approximately 25 percent of holidays shoppers made their purchases from a small or local retailer in 2015. In fact, when it came to gifts for family, friends, coworkers and others, customers shopping at small business spent more than those who made all their purchases at big retailers. Consider these four holiday inventory management tips for your small business during the holiday season:

1. Make more accurate forecasts

Pinpointing the exact number of items you’ll sell this holiday season is nearly impossible. However, having a good estimate of potential sales is crucial for inventory management.

If you don’t have enough products, customers get mad; however, if you have considerably more items leftover that didn’t end up selling, you can be stuck with a mountain of inventory that might not be moving anytime soon.

Instead of blindly guessing, use a combination of your store’s historical data along with the projections from industry sources to make a more accurate prediction of how much inventory you’ll need.

2. Maintain backup suppliers

A streamlined and efficient supply chain is key to maintaining an optimal inventory count for the holidays. However, due to the nature of the season, there are any number of potential risks that may arise to toss a wrench into your supply chain. From a run on products to inclement weather and from logistical issues to sudden shutdowns, your supply chain may be vulnerable to a variety of problems. Any one of these issues can leave your company without merchandise during this high-traffic time of the year.

One way to overcome this potential vulnerability is to not rely on just one supplier. Small Business Trends recommended reaching out and finding a backup supplier that will be able to step in and take over if your original source somehow becomes unable to ship you inventory.

3. Consider inventory control software

Computer systems are making everything easier, and inventory management is no exception. Using an outdated pen-and-paper method for ordering, tracking and shelving inventory is not only inefficient, it can also create some glaring gaps between your supply and customers’ demands. Manual inventory tracking is a time-consuming endeavor that the hectic rush of the holiday season may preclude you from finishing.

Instead of these archaic methods, inventory control software provides you with the digital tools needed to reduce the amount of time you’ll spend tracking inventory receipts and invoices. Plus, almost all of these software solutions offer reorder alerts, so you’ll be able to immediately intervene to stop any potential shortage.

In addition, inventory control software can alleviate the headaches caused by one of the biggest problems associated with holiday shopping: the dreaded returns. With scannable barcode labels for products, you can guarantee that every item returned was originally purchased in your store.

4. Utilize alternative financing

Sometimes a lack of funding is the biggest obstacle for small businesses trying to optimize their inventory during the holiday season. Preliminary projections might show your company is poised for major sales in the next few months. Unfortunately, if you don’t have enough working capital to purchase a sufficient amount of inventory, you may find your shelves barren before you know it, without any means to restock them.

Fortunately, alternative financing options can provide you with the money you need, sometimes in as little as 24 hours. This can be used to purchase additional inventory to meet customers’ demands during the busy holiday season.

Featured


  • Boost organic marketing efforts

    How to Boost Organic Marketing Efforts for Small Businesses

    There are countless ways to bring people to your website. Engage them on social media, pay for ads on search engines or even include QR codes in your print marketing efforts. While these are all excellent methods to drive traffic to your site, there's one approach that may be more important than the others: organic… […]

  • Business loans for entrepreneurs

    2 Obstacles Entrepreneurs Face When Securing Small Business Loans

    There are a few basic things that any entrepreneur needs to start a new business, like time, lots of hard work and commitment, to name a few. Another universal need that shouldn't be overlooked is money. To get the funds necessary to keep your business moving forward, you'll more than likely need to secure a… […]

  • National Mom and Pop Business Owners day

    National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day – March 29th

    Statistics from the federal government show about 28 million mom and pop businesses exist across the U.S. That number is all the more impressive when the number of large businesses - those with more than 500 employees - is taken into account. With fewer than 20,000 of these larger companies in operation, it's not an… […]

  • Section 179 tax deduction benefit

    How to Qualify for Section 179 Tax Benefits?

    Come tax season, it's important for Americans to know what they can or can't write off. Including the right deductions can greatly benefit you in the year to come, as it can increase your return or minimize the amount you owe. Small business owners must pay just as close attention to their business taxes and qualifying exemptions as… […]