Inventory Planning Crucial To Holiday Success

Steve Edelstein, CEO of brand management/marketing consultancy The Logical Step, says a merchant’s manufacturing must be always be in line with product min/max levels during the pressurized holiday season.

“It’s crucial to understand your inventory replenishment timetable and always have sufficient inventory available during the holiday peak season,” Edelstein explains.

With that in mind, Edelstein says companies must, first and foremost, plan ahead and anticipate minimum volume and potential maximum volume of sales during their holiday season.

Prepare your marketing program with strong, viable metrics to work with, and make sure all operations are fine tuned to handle any spikes in business. What’s more, do not take anything for granted.

“It’s important to know how the customer is going to respond, be aware of all customer service attributes, understand the nature of the purchase, and use your data and reporting to its full effect,” he says.

Holiday inventory, most definitely, should be stocked differently during the peak Nov. 1 through Dec. 20 timeframe, he says.

Proper planning, revenue forecasting, the understanding of all product, marketing, and operating margins will make this peak period more productive, reasonable, and financially efficient, Edelstein says.

Product should always be available. Items being aggressively sold during the holiday season should never be out of stock, Edelstein says.

He offers five things to remember during the holiday season:

  • Ensure that all sales and operating channels are operating at maximum efficiency.
  • Always benchmark proper staffing and plan for a fluctuation in both personnel and volume.
  • Prioritize products and know the history, margins, price points, and value of all products being sold. It is important to forecast as much as possible to allow for changes in the marketplace should they occur.
  • If you have a significant outsourced operation, make sure that communication is fluid, consistent, and always timely. It is critical to keep all your component partners up-to-date with all issues, product plans, and marketing to ensure all are operating on the same page.
  • Always plan ahead. Never underestimate the market, your product, your marketing strategy or your revenue goals. The holidays come and go quickly and, in some instances, can have a dramatic effect on the end of year financials and financial planning into the New Year.

For more holiday preparedness tips from Multichannel Merchant,
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