Make Room for Santa: Last Minute Inventory Changes
November 13, 2018
With the holidays just around the corner, wholesalers can sit back, relax, and enjoy the season. After all, they’d already delivered most of their holiday stock to retailers. And with retailers serving consumers, wholesalers have nothing else to do. Right?
In an ideal world, maybe. But in ours? Not so much.
If there’s still a pallet of plastic Santas blocking your warehouse’s doorway, now’s the time to find a new home for it.
While it’s true that the bulk of holiday preparations are already over, there are still many last-minute adjustments waiting for wholesalers. For example, unexpectedly popular items need restocking, faulty products and surplus inventory is being returned, and many other small things arise that need the immediate attention of wholesalers.
Besides, it’s still not too late to come up with strategies to increase sales. In fact, if there’s still a pallet of plastic Santas blocking your warehouse’s doorway, now’s the time to find a new home for it.
Prepare for Changes
A successful wholesale holiday season starts with a well-prepared and optimized inventory. For example, forecasting demand, hiring seasonal workers, and keeping an organized warehouse are all necessary tasks, along with a smoothly running supply chain.
However, despite the most careful preparations, changes can occur. Demand may spike unexpectedly for a product, and you’ll have to figure out how to get a new shipment from your supplier, and how to pass it on to your retail partner a thousand miles away. All within two business days, preferably.
Or, you may get a phone call about a shipment full of faulty products and you have to make up your mind what to do with it right away. Or a water pipe may burst in your warehouse, soaking a pallet of red-nosed reindeers (and shorting out their noses in the process).
While it’s impossible to be prepared for everything, it doesn’t hurt to keep a flexible approach to your inventory, especially around the holidays.
Before we get carried away with doomsday scenarios like these, here’s the point: changes can happen any time, for any reason. And while it’s impossible to be prepared for everything, it doesn’t hurt to keep a flexible approach to your inventory, especially around the holidays.
For example, having a solid returns policy in place, keeping a list of backup suppliers ready for inventory shortages, as well as tracking your shipments and payments can generally act like a good insurance policy for unexpected events. Besides an actual insurance policy, of course.
Flexibility and reliability are two of the most important features of a good wholesaler, especially around the holiday season when retailers face a never-ending stream of frenzied Christmas shoppers. But besides being an awesome business partner, we have a few more ideas you can use to increase sales and finally send that last pallet of plastic Santas to a retailer.
How to Increase Sales
The most essential wholesale strategies to increase sales always start with a customer-oriented mindset. If you want your business partners to buy your stock, you have to know what they need and present your products and services as the perfect answer to their needs.
Make Order Recommendations
Selling add-ons is not limited to retailers. When a business partner orders a type of product, make sure to suggest other, similar or complementary goods. More often than not, your buyer won’t be able to resist a good bargain for goods that go well with their initial order, especially if you throw in perks like a discount on shipment.
This process can be fully automated. Just like Amazon’s related merchandise offers that appear when a customer clicks on a product, your website can suggest complementary goods to your buyers without any input from you or your employees.
Offer Deals for a Limited Time
The fear of missing out (FOMO) is just as powerful an incentive for retail buyers as consumers. Offering a discount for a limited time is a great way to convince retailers to make up their minds and finally get the products they’ve been eyeing for a while.
You can get creative with this and extend it to a limited time ‘buy-one-get-one’ campaign. If a retailer buys a type of product, they can get a discount on another thing, or maybe even get the second item for free.
Whatever the offer, if you put a countdown on it, it’s bound to get retailers’ attention.
Retailers’ networks can be gold-mines for wholesalers. Other retailers and potential suppliers all lurk in the contact lists of your buyers, waiting to be found. But you shouldn’t wait for your buyers’ random contacts to ask for advice about the best wholesaler in town. Instead, take action yourself.
Offer an incentive to your customers for referring others. For example, a 5% discount on your buyer’s next purchase for a new customer they’ve referred to you. With a little push in the right direction, your current buyers become your best recruiters.
Special Offers and Discounts
Another idea to increase sales is to offer a special discount if the order fulfills certain criteria. For example, every order above a predetermined value gets a 5% discount, or a free gift.
Similarly, you can devise a loyalty program where clients earn points for their orders. When they reach a certain number of orders, they get a discount or a gift.
Excellent Customer Service
You want to know how to increase sales? Be nice to people you want to buy your stock.
While retailers tend to hear this advice a lot, it works just as well for wholesalers. After all, similarly to consumers, your retail buyers are people who want to be treated with attention and respect.
In the world of social media, a bad reputation goes a long way. A few public complaints on your social media accounts are enough to make potential new clients question their intention to do business with you at all.
There’s no trick to ace this. Simply treat your clients the way you’d want to be treated. Listen to their issues, do your utmost to help them solve their problems, and be polite and respectful in all your communication.
The holiday season is not the time for wholesalers to go on holiday. However, with careful preparations, a flexible inventory, and the right attitude, you have all the ingredients for a successful Christmas shopping season.