How to Prepare Your eCommerce Inventory for Sales Season in 2023?
The sales season occurs at different times throughout the year depending on multiple factors such as holidays, festivals or eCommerce selling platforms feeling generous and rewarding their patrons with discounted products. In India, a country with a vast and diverse population consisting of various festivities celebrated throughout the year by different cultural groups, eCommerce retailers have a good opportunity to participate in these celebrations by attempting to boost sales and fulfill the requirements of customers during the festive season.
While many segments of the year can be considered the de-facto sales season, it is a lot more complicated than that in reality due to the sheer number of festivals celebrated in the country compared to other nations such as Diwali, Dussehra, Christmas, Ramzan, Eid and Independence Day, just to name a few. Because of this, it would be prudent for eCommerce sellers to partake in inventory preparation in advance, to take full advantage of customers’ skyrocketing demand for various holiday-specific commodities. In this blog, we will go into detail about inventory preparation for sales season in 2023, the benefits associated with it and 10 tactics to follow to make the most of it.
- What is Inventory Preparation?
- Benefits of Preparing Inventory for Holiday Sales Season in 2023
- 10 Tactics to Help Your Inventory Preparation for the Festive Season in 2023
- Prioritize Value Over Speed
- Plan in Advance
- Increase Your Business Capacity
- Implement Product Bundling
- Utilize Staggered Product Releases
- Offer Product Previews and Cheat Sheets
- Employ Discount Thresholds
- Sell Festival-Specific SKUs
- Avail of Additional Services With a 3PL
- Prevent Stockouts of Best-Selling Products
- Conclusion: Partner With WareIQ to Organise Your Inventory for the Festive Season in 2023
- Sales Season: FAQs
What is Inventory Preparation?
Inventory preparation is an aspect of inventory management that involves making changes in a retailer’s inventory based on various factors such as demand, seasonality, festivals, sales and supply chain adaptability. Preparing inventory is usually done after prior inventory forecasting and assessment to ascertain the demand for various products and the quantity of those products that need to be stored to fulfill that demand.
Preparing inventory for sales season in 2023 such as during a major holiday or festival involves determining which products customers would generally require during that time period. This varies as per the type of festival. For example, during Diwali season, the most highly-demanded commodities would be sweets, gift hampers, flowers, diyas and much more. Thus, for retailers who sell these items or ones who want a slice of the market share, these products would have to be stocked in large quantities and be readily available to fulfill orders whenever they come in.
WareIQ, an eCommerce fulfillment company, empowers online brands with a superior-tech platform to compete with Amazon like service levels by bringing their average delivery timelines from 5-10 days to 1-2 days.
Benefits of Preparing Inventory for Holiday Sales Season in 2023
By preparing inventory for the sales season by efficiently forecasting demand levels and analysing the historical metrics of prior seasons, retailers can effectively identify which products will have heightened demand and ensure that they are ordered in sufficient quantities. This helps prevent stockout situations from occurring and helps businesses fulfill every order that is placed.
By performing pro-active forecasting and analysis prior to major festive seasons, retailers can safeguard their investments by preventing over-stocking of products due to inaccurate estimations of demand levels. Similarly to preventing stockouts, retailers can identify which products will have the highest demand and focus on stocking those, rather than other products, which may not sell as well during the season. Additionally, they can also have sales to get rid of products that have low demand or are close to expiry.
By successfully preparing their inventory, retailers can ensure that the best-selling products are always in-stock, leading to every order being fulfilled. Seasonal demand entails that only the specific products and gifts that are required for the festival will be purchased by customers. If retailers are opportunistic, they can focus on selling the products that have a high chance of generating sales and thus, will gain a competitive advantage over their rivals by being able to fulfill the festival-specific requirements of every customer.
Increases Profit Margins
Sales and profit margins are usually co-related and when there is an increase in one, the other also benefits. By preparing inventory for festive seasons in advance, retailers can focus on cutting costs in logistics and operational procedures, and also streamline their ordering and replenishment processes to optimise storage, transportation and manufacturing costs. The minimising of all these expenses in combination with increased sales will have a profound impact on the profit margins of a company.
Enhances Customer Satisfaction
Customers have very specific requirements during festive seasons, whether they are purchasing items for themselves or sending gifts to their loved ones. Retailers who are able to fulfill these requirements at a reasonable price can instantly create a highly demanded niche and out-compete their rivals. If customers are satisfied with the overall order and delivery experience, they are likely to make this satisfaction known online through positive reviews and ratings, and are bound to highlight the brand to friends and family that also have similar requirements. This enhances the overall image of the brand in the eyes of both existing and potential customers.
10 Tactics to Help Your Inventory Preparation for the Festive Season in 2023
Prioritize Value Over Speed
Rather than simply focusing on fulfilling as many orders as possible in the shortest timeframe, retailers need to optimize their fulfillment and optimize or reduce shipping costs in order to provide better rates to their customers. This can help be a differentiating factor if there are many other competitors trying to take advantage of the festive season. Various promotional offers and discounts can be given to customers to enhance their satisfaction and help them save money while at the same time, enabling them to buy more products due to their perception that they are getting a better deal.
You can also read about Peak Season Shipping here.
Plan in Advance
Retailers need to plan for the sales season at least 6 months in advance in order to ensure that everything is implemented smoothly and there are no hiccups. They need to discern what their CM targets need to be, what their budget cap would be for the festive season in question, what type of offers they want to run, what products they are going to launch, and what their overall business objectives are to make the most of the increased demand.
Suggested Read: How to prepare for Pre-Order for eCommerce Stores?
Increase Your Business Capacity
During the festive season, retailers need to provide an expanded range of products and services over their regular operations so that they can capitalize on fulfilling the specific requirements that customers have. This includes increasing the available storage space to make room for larger amounts of inventory that need to be stocked and also making sure that suppliers are up to speed on the escalated targets so that there will not be any delays in replenishing inventory levels, especially for high demand products.
Implement Product Bundling
In order to make use of the increased demand levels during the sales season in 2023, retailers can provide optional product bundles by combining SKUs with high sell-through rates with ones that have lower sell-through rates. This enables businesses to encourage customers to spend more on what they perceive as value-for-money offerings while simultaneously being able to get rid of low-demand or close-to-expiry products.
Utilize Staggered Product Releases
By releasing new products in various phases, businesses can maintain the interest of customers for longer periods of time, as opposed to just releasing them at once. For example, Apple generally has 2 to 3 keynotes a year – one for the new iPhones and software features, one for the new macs and if needed, one for tertiary products such as new AirPods or a new apple watch. By having these events spread throughout the year, consumers will always have something to talk about and can consider purchasing one of the many refreshed product iterations.
Offer Product Previews and Cheat Sheets
Product previews and cheat sheets, which are promotional pages that consist of a summary of vital product information, can be useful when trying to generate traction for a specific product or event. By providing users with a sneak-peak of a new product instead of unveiling it in its entirety, retailers can achieve high levels of excitement and anticipation in their customers. This generally helps spread the word by customers informing their family and friends, who in turn inform more and more people.
Employ Discount Thresholds
It is critical to employ appetizing discounts for high-demand products to generate interest in the minds of customers. However, retailers should also not offer high discounts from day 1. For example, they can start with 10% and if they are not satisfied with the performance of the discounted SKUs, they can add another 5% to see if it performs better. Retailers need to maintain a fine line between getting sales and maintaining their profit margins.
Sell Festival-Specific SKUs
Retailers should produce, market and sell festival-specific merchandise, not only to take advantage of the high demand for those products but also to protect their general flagship products. It is key not to include these products in the sale or offer discounts on them as that can diminish their perceived value in the future. By segmenting inventory specifically for an event or season, retailers can instantly continue to sell their regular items once it is over and normal service resumes.
Avail of Additional Services With a 3PL
Extra services that can entice customers to return to a brand can be offering discounts or offer coupons, providing free shipping and discounts on minimum cart values, just to name a few. These value-addition services can easily be provided by a competent 3PL fulfillment provider so it is key for eCommerce businesses to take advantage of them to keep their customers engaged for longer periods of time.
Prevent Stockouts of Best-Selling Products
By planning, forecasting and strategizing in advance, retailers are able to ascertain how much inventory they require for specific SKUs according to their demand levels during the relevant season and SKUs. It is also important to prevent stockouts of flagship products from occurring as these products will have continuous demand before, during and after the festive season is over.
Conclusion: Partner With WareIQ to Organise Your Inventory for the Festive Season in 2023
Inventory preparation during the sales season in 2023 is crucial for an eCommerce business to sustain itself during the periods of the highest demand rates in the industry. By capitalising on this demand and being ready and able to fulfill every order, retailers can instantly boost sales and increase their profit margins. However, small and medium-sized businesses may struggle to cope with the added pressure and increased fulfillment requirements. To compete with the bigger companies in the market, these businesses can level the playing field by partnering with a 3PL company like WareIQ. If you are an eCommerce retailer that wants to prepare your inventory for the festive season or any other eCommerce-related assistance, we would be happy to help.
WareIQ is a specialist in eCommerce fulfillment and has amassed a vast amount of experience and knowledge in the industry, making it one of the fastest-growing 3PL fulfillment companies in India. Through its use of technology like a custom WMS, a nationwide network of fulfillment centers and unique features such as an app store and RTO support, WareIQ can enhance the user experience of every retailer that chooses to partner with us, in addition to ensuring that your customers receive the best service. Some of the features that make WareIQ one of the best options in regard to inventory preparation for the festive season are listed below:
We can intelligently segment your SKUs based on their performance, demand and other factors to increase your sell-through rates.
Exceptional Forecasting Methods
We help in forecasting your demand using historical data so that you can optimize your inventory preparation.
Automated Inventory Replenishment
We provide automated inventory replenishment triggers that can be set as per your preference to ensure that your best-selling products are always in stock.