For 2020 holiday sales, plan ahead: Inventory and Supply Chain Management

For 2020 holiday sales, plan ahead: Inventory and Supply Chain Management

This year’s holiday sales offer online merchants both new opportunities and new challenges. One, eCommerce is growing rapidly with many shoppers opting to shop online. Cyber Weekend 2020 sales projections hit $51.1 million, nearly double 2019.

The entire supply chain was disrupted in this year’s event. The warehouses had to reduce staff, and international suppliers were unable to ship efficiently.

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What is a supply-chain? Why is it important?

The supply chain is the entire process that takes place from when you order inventory until when your customers receive their goods. The supply chain management process includes production, storage and fulfillment, as well as shipping. For your sales to be successful, each link must remain strong.

You must plan well in advance to be a merchant. You should order the right quantity of inventory ahead and be flexible during your sales.

These are 7 steps to help you manage your inventory and supply chain this holiday season:

  1. Select the right suppliers
  2. Design your fulfillment process
  3. Get in touch with your supply chain partners early
  4. Get the right inventory
  5. Pricing your products strategically
  6. Plan for stocking
  7. Create a plan to sell

Get excited, and get started now.

01. Select the right supplier

Online merchants are more inclined to work with international suppliers in order to cut costs. You might consider working with domestic suppliers this year. This can be a great option:

  1. Avoid any new, unexpected tariffs
  2. Avoid delays in customs and shipping across borders
  3. Stock replenishment made easier and quicker

Consider diversifying your business if you choose to do business with international suppliers. Also, don’t try to get all your eggs in one basket. You can order from different countries’ suppliers. This way, you don’t have to lose your entire inventory if a country has a recession or a virus outbreak.

02. Plan your fulfillment process

Large inventory merchants may wish to ship their inventory directly to a third party logistics provider (3PL). Third-party logistics providers handle fulfillment and shipping so that you can concentrate on your online marketing strategy.

No matter if you use a third-party fulfillment company, it is important to choose the right warehouses. Choose a warehouse that is within a reasonable distance from your suppliers. Order your inventory in advance. You can plan ahead so that the warehouse staff has enough time to properly sort and file your products.

You can maximize the space in your brick-and-mortar shop by creating your own warehouse. The Spice Suite is one example. Angel Gregorio, the owner and curator of COVID-19, transformed her D.C. shopfront into a warehouse. She can store small items, such as oils and spices, and ensure that fragile products are not damaged.

You can see how fast your stock sells with your own warehouse. This will allow you to prioritize the products that you want to sell as holiday sales increase.

To scan product barcodes if your eCommerce website was built on Wix, you can use the Wix owner app This will help you save time when adding and tracking inventory.

You can also offer your customers curbside pick-up. This has been an integral part of The Spice Suite’s success during COVID-19. Recent reports indicate that 53% holiday shoppers intend to shop at stores with contactless options. Major chains such as Target allow customers to pick up their orders from other locations. You can save shipping costs and enhance your customer service by having store pickup.

You can opt for store pickup if you tell your customers on your checkout page. Respect your customers’ space and social distancing.

03. Early communication with supply chain partners

Your suppliers and manufacturers are truly your partners. Your success is dependent on each other. So work together to find the right process and order volume.

COVID-19 has created obstacles for suppliers. COVID-19 has caused delays in deliveries, closed factories and reduced staff. To find out if there are any supply chain problems, contact your suppliers immediately. Yes, now. Okay, you might finish this blog. But after that.

Holiday gifts are fun, but holiday supply chain management is more challenging. Surprises can be great. Give your suppliers as many details as possible when discussing inventory order volume. Even if you don’t plan to order today, ensure that you and your suppliers are on the same page regarding the quantity of inventory you will need and the likelihood of the supplier being able to fulfill the order. You’ll be able to adapt your product range or diversify your products if they inform you about supply chain problems. You can check in frequently to see if there are any changes in the supply chain.

Check in with your 3PL company if you are a driver or fulfillment staff. You could find them facing shortages of fulfillment staff or drivers, or warehouse closures, or delivery restrictions. For any fulfillment issues that may arise, create a backup plan with them.

An eCommerce platform that has a single inventory report will allow you to keep track of stock levels. Wix eCommerce synchronizes your inventory with all your sales channels. This includes eBay and Facebook Shop as well as top 3PL services. Your 3PL service should double-check your supply numbers before holiday sales begin to ensure that your inventory updates are reliable once sales start. This will allow you to react immediately when an item goes out of stock. Wix stores will mark products as out of stock automatically so that you don’t oversell.

Reorder notifications will alert you when your stock drops . These can be set up to notify you when stock falls below a specified level. Fulfillment may be delayed during the holiday season, as mentioned. To give yourself enough time to replenish stock, set reorder notifications with a higher threshold if you have them. You can plan ahead and continue to offer your top sellers without any problems.

04. You should order the correct amount of inventory

These rules are simple.

  1. To avoid overselling, order enough stock from your suppliers.
  2. Do not order too much inventory.
  3. You need to find a middle ground in your product range. There should be enough SKUs for customers to choose from, but not too many that it overwhelms them.

What will your customers purchase this holiday season? How can you stock your warehouse efficiently if you don’t have a clear picture?

Have a look at the industry you work in

You should also review the top-selling products in your industry during holiday sales. Also, you’ll want to check out eCommerce growth statistics during COVID-19. This new reality has changed buyer behavior and preferences. All 10 top eCommerce product categories saw a double in sales.

Keep up-to-date with the latest profitable product categories, trends. Next, adapt your product range to the latest reports.

Have a look at the sales data you have.

To predict the holiday season, you can use sales data from previous years. These analytics reports will automatically be calculated if your online store is built using Wix. They are displayed in your dashboard. To determine where to order more inventory, review your top-selling categories and products.

You should have last year’s data to understand the holiday season and your customers. You may not want to depend too much on data from last year because sales trends have changed so drastically this year. You can focus more on the analytics of your store from the past 3-6 months to get a better understanding of your sales trends during COVID-19.

Holiday pre-orders

Ask your customers. This is another way to discover what your customers want. It is believed that Amazon Prime Day will take place in October, so consumers are already planning their holiday shopping lists. To better understand the demand for your products, you can offer holiday pre-orders at a discounted price now. You’ll get a better estimate of the order you need from your supplier. Second, you will know which holiday products you should prioritize. Third, you can start fulfilling orders ahead.

Once you have a good idea of your sales trends and your inventory order, you can adjust it in kind.

These are some supply chain management changes you should consider:

  • Order small quantities: This strategy allows you to order as little as possible from your supplier. It offers greater security as you won’t order too many. However, it can make you more likely to over-order and you don’t have a guarantee that your supply chain will function properly. Mini-bulk may be the right option for you business. Consider the risks associated with overstocking and the benefits of selling out.
  • Remove products: Before your holiday sales begin, you might want to consider removing products from your shopfront. You may also want to remove SKUs that don’t sell well. This will help you highlight your best-selling products. You may also want to discontinue products that have high returns rates, such as clothing and fragile products. This will depend on the business. Selling t-shirts is one example. You don’t need to replace your entire inventory.

No matter what, ensure that your website has a clear return policy. It should be included in the footer of your website so that customers know what to expect when they buy. It is also a benefit for the merchant to have a detailed return policy. This will allow you to avoid having to deal with frustrating returns or unanticipated inventory.

05. Pricing your products strategically

You can still use product prices to manage your stock levels once you have decided on your inventory volume and ordered from your suppliers.

Basics: Reduce the price of your most popular products to increase sales, and raise the prices for your less-popular products to reduce their sales.

Find the price point that meets your inventory goals and doesn’t hurt your brand when you adjust your prices. Your pricing should be consistent. Don’t make your products too expensive or too low to confuse your customers.

During the holiday sales season, you can also use the usual best pricing practices. Compare your competition. You can compete with their holiday prices if yours is lower. If you want to be a luxury brand, you should price higher. As always, do a cost-benefit analysis. Lower prices may sell more inventory but higher prices will result in a greater profit margin and prevent you from selling too soon.

Offer coupons are a better option than changing the product price. Coupons allow you to adjust your product emphases and discounts throughout the holiday season.

06. Plan for stocking

You’re doing all you can to avoid overstocking. If this year taught us anything it is the importance of having a backup plan. Here are some ways you can sell more inventory if you have holiday sales.

Run flash sales

To unload surplus inventory, offer Flash Sales for a limited time. Flash sales have been shown to increase Wix’s monthly GMV by more than 64,000% on average. Flash sales are a great way to sell excess stock quickly and increase holiday season revenue.

Tip: Be sure to have enough inventory to fulfill the flash sale order demand. If you have only a few units, this may not be the best option.

Bundles and subscriptions can be sold

COVID-19 reports that more people are buying bulk toiletries and food. Keep following this trend. Promote your surplus inventory by including them in product bundles or month subscriptions and promoting them in holiday marketing.

Tip To give your customers more value, make sure you discount bundles and subscriptions.

07. Plan for selling

This holiday season, you might sell more than you expected. With enough inventory to meet every order, you can probably do so. With realistic supply chain problems and unexpected curveballs, it is possible to end up with an in-demand product but not enough stock.

First, ensure that your eCommerce platform marks out-of-stock products on your storefront as soon as they sell. You could accidentally frustrate and oversell your customers if this is not done.

Next, stop any promotions that you are running for products that have sold out, including on site banners or paid advertising campaigns. Make sure to update your promotions following major sales like Cyber Weekend.

Communicate clearly with customers about delays or shortages. Modern consumers value authenticity and transparency. Malaika Jones Kebede is the founder of the wellness brand brown girl Jane.

We’re grateful for the rapid growth we have experienced, but it also means that products are more difficult to find. Communication, communication, and honesty about all things has been a huge help to us. People are smart. This is not something they know about your business. However, you must let them know.

To keep your customers informed, label your limited stock items. Let your customers know when an item is back in stock once it sells. Either send an email blast to notify customers when your most popular products are back in stock, or you can add waitlist forms on out-of-stock product pages so that shoppers are notified when the item is available again.

Remarketing customers to similar products might be an option. This can be done via email or by posting on the out-of-stock product page. To encourage customers to visit your site, choose relevant alternatives.

You should be able contact suppliers to replenish stock. If your suppliers are unable to send products in time for the holidays, there are three creative ways to keep sales up:

  1. Repurpose materials such as extra fabric from unsold clothes for more in-demand items like face masks.
  2. Showcase over-ordered stock with.
  3. Promote your digital gift cards. This saves you time and allows you to restock. You get a bonus: Gift cards can increase brand exposure and attract new customers to your store.

Remember that the holiday sales season is actually a series promotions that range from Cyber Weekend to Winter Holidays. While it is important to plan ahead, you must also use the insights from each sale to improve your business.