It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but for retailers it also happens to be the most stressful. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) right around the corner, businesses are concerned about promoting holiday sales, managing fulfillment, and having enough product to meet demand.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), up to 40% of retailers’ annual sales occur during the holiday season. How well retailers manage their inventory can greatly affect not only their holiday success, but also their overall profitability. As a small or mid-sized retailer, how can you make sure your business is prepared for your busiest and most important time of year?
1. Centralize Your Inventory
The Holiday Rush + Multichannel Selling = Inventory Management Challenges.To achieve maximum brand exposure and business growth, you’re likely selling through multiple sales channels and marketplaces, both online and off. But if you’re using disparate systems to handle stock quantities, purchase orders, invoices, and more, the chaos of the holiday season will make inventory management nearly impossible.
Not having control over your inventory can lead to stock shortages, overselling, and missed sales opportunities. You can save time and resources while gaining real-time, comprehensive business insights by implementing an automated and integrated inventory management system that:
- Syncs inventory and tracks orders across all your sales channels and warehouses
- Alerts you when stock is low
- Automatically sends purchase orders to suppliers
- Enables you to bundle products for holiday promotions and deals
- Provides reports on purchase orders, product sales, and shipments
2. Simplify Operations
While a boost in holiday sales is always good, rapid increases in sales orders can quickly throw a wrench into your business operations - especially if your company relies on manual order tracking methods. How many times have you had to re-check inventory stock quantities, or worried about properly tracking an order from picking and packing through shipping and returns?
Streamline your order management process with an integrated order management system that offers:
- Order status reports and analysis
- Centralized and automated purchase orders
- New listing publishing capabilities
3. Optimize Fulfillment
Hyperactive holiday sales naturally lead to a surge in fulfillment needs. Plus, the stress of the holidays create a heightened sense of urgency to get eCommerce customers their orders as quickly as possible.
ECommerce shipping solutions, like ShipStation, help thousands of small and mid-sized retailers quickly and easily fulfill orders and process returns from multiple selling channels. While solutions like these are essential for fast and reliable fulfillment, to truly optimize these systems you need to plug them into your central inventory and operations hub. Integrating your shipping and fulfillment processes with your inventory control system will enable you to sync orders and customer contact information across all your sales channels and instantaneously be notified when orders are marked as shipped in your fulfillment system.
Housing all your purchase orders, stock, sales, and shipping information in one centralized solution will empower you to exceed your holiday sales goals, while saving you and your team a lot of time, stress, and aggravation.