Inventory optimization for the holidays starts now
It may only be November, but for many merchants, the holiday season starts this week. Retailers across North America will need to start considering their inventory optimization efforts to ensure they are better suited to leverage their stock in the best way possible over the busy holiday period.
The holidays start now
Internet Retailer recently reported a number of merchants have commenced their big holiday pushes. For example, on November first, Amazon launched the beginning of more than 15,000 limited-time deals, as well as several unique “Deals of the Day” that will run through December 22nd.
“Starting in November, millions of holiday shoppers come to Amazon hunting for the best deals and that one perfect gift,” says Steve Shure, Amazon vice president of worldwide marketing. “This year, we will have more than 15,000 hand-selected, limited time promotions on hot products, including new early access deals for Prime members on many Lightning Deals from Amazon.com and daily sales events on MyHabit.”
QVC has also been bit by the holiday bug. The online and television retailer is similarly promoting unique deals for the next two months and is positioning itself as an answer to the Black Friday madness without all of the crazy lines and product shortages.
Gap, Barnes and Noble, Macy’s – these brands are also already beginning their holiday promotions, complete with holiday guides, deals, wish lists and other unique features designed to get people into the holiday mindset. Over the course of the next few weeks, more merchants will begin rolling out similar promotions, and by Black Friday – the day many industry experts consider the official start of the holiday season – most sellers should be operating in full force.
Making the best use of inventory during peak periods
One of the biggest sources of frustration for merchants and customers alike during peak periods is stock outages. For shoppers, it means they need to look elsewhere to buy a gift they needed. For retailers, it represents a lost sales opportunity.
As retailers gear up for the holidays, it is absolutely paramount they bear inventory optimization in mind. Inventory management is not just about picking the right items and placing purchase orders when inventory gets low – it is also about how sellers use stock to stretch it the extra mile. Optimization can only happen, however, when retailers have a full picture of stock levels across all selling channels, from online to brick-and-mortar.
Inventory optimization allows merchants to be smart with how they use their inventory. For instance, if stock is running low in brick-and-mortar stores, merchants may not want to use ship-from-store options to fulfill an order. Instead, they could check regional warehouses or a source with more stock and route the order there.
With better inventory optimization, retailers can make their stock last longer, even during peak periods, which may be crucial in helping secure more sales this holiday season.