Black Friday is the official opening of the holiday sales season. A season that this year, with the arrival of the pandemic, undoubtedly promises to bring new opportunities for online stores.
Considering that consumers around the world have had to stay home and seek new shopping methods, the eCommerce sector is experiencing an unprecedented boom. In fact, the forecast of total sales in online stores By the end of Cyber Monday this year (November 30) it is estimated that it will be, at least, 20% higher than 2019. This is why having inventory and the supply chain under control are very important aspects for the success of your online store.
What is a supply chain and why is it important to plan it?
The supply chain refers to the entire process that begins with the purchase of raw materials and ends with the delivery to the final consumer of the product. That is, it includes the production, storage, logistics and shipping of the product. To ensure the success of your store in this peak sales season, each item in this chain must remain solid at all times.
If you have an online store, having a plan is the key to being efficient. In that sense, you need to buy the correct amount of raw material in advance and be flexible in your sales. Today we tell you 7 steps so that you are more prepared than ever for Christmas.
7 steps to managing your supply chain and inventory this holiday season
1. Choose the right providers
It is common for some online stores to work with international suppliers. This year, however, it may be better to work with national suppliers as it offers you some advantages:
- You avoid any new and unexpected duties or taxes.
- You have no delivery delay at customs.
- You replenish your stock more easily and quickly.
- You do not depend on the frequency of flights
- You do not depend on the opening or closing of borders due to the pandemic.
2. Plan all your logistics processes
If you have an online store with a large volume of inventory, you might be interested in hiring an external logistics service. Entrusting all the logistics and shipping to a third party will help you to forget about these issues and focus on the strategy and marketing of your business. Whether you do it or not, the important thing is that you inform those who work in the distribution center in advance the exact way in which you want them to organize and catalog your products.
If you have a physical store, you can also offer your customers a pick-up in store, an option that many customers prefer because it has less delay and avoids shipping costs. If you decide to offer the option of withdrawing in store, inform your customers of its operation on the checkout page of your online store.
3. Coordinate with everyone involved in your supply chain
The manufacturers and suppliers you work with are key to your eCommerce. Your success depends on them, so work closely with them to find a way to work together that works.
To control your inventory levels, use an eCommerce platform that centralizes your inventory report in the same place. With Simple Site, you can synchronize your stock with all your sales channels, such as your shop on facebook, and even connect it with other apps to automate processes. With SitioSimple, if a product is out of stock your store will automatically mark it as out of stock to avoid accidental overselling.
4. Have the necessary stock
Order enough merchandise from your suppliers so your inventory doesn’t run out too soon, but don’t overorder. Find a middle ground in the variety of products you sell.
Find out which products are selling well in your market, not only during the Christmas sales season but also during the rest of the year. It is recommended that you consult the reports on the growth of eCommerce during COVID-19 in the markets in which you operate. Research which products and trends are now profitable with the new reality and design your product offering based on what you find out.
5. Measure your sales and anticipate the unforeseen
A good way to measure the demand for your products is to offer a Christmas presale with an attractive discount. This will help you, on the one hand, to have a more accurate estimate of the products that you should order from your supplier; on the other, it will allow you to know which products to prioritize for the Christmas season and you will be able to organize the logistics of your shipments much earlier.
Don’t wait for your customers to enter your online store to show them your best offers! SitioSimple provides a control called “Product Gallery”, which allows you to show on your homepage, or on the page you want, your best promotions, in a fast and versatile way, and what is fundamental, very simple to maintain or update.
Make sure you have a clear return policy in your online store. Make sure it is visible so that your customers know what to expect if they are not satisfied with their purchase and want to return a product. A clear returns policy always works in your favor as a seller because it avoids the frustration of returns and the implications that this has on your inventory.
6. Think about the price of your products strategically
Best practices for setting prices are also applicable for the peak holiday sales season. When you adjust your prices try to find the sweet spot that helps your inventory achieve your goals without hurting your business. Research your competitors’ prices first and then decide which ones will be yours. In SitioSimple, you can modify prices massively from your product catalog to avoid errors when changing them.
A good option is, instead of changing the prices of your products completely, offer discount coupons. Coupons give you the flexibility to change your discounts at your whim and to more easily sell products that cost to sell because of their high price.
7. Have a plan in case you run out of stock
Having a plan B is always good. It is very likely that this year you will sell more than you think during the Christmas season. However, you should be aware that interruptions in the supply chain are more likely to occur and you could find yourself in a situation where you have to face a high demand for product without having enough stock.
Make sure that when a certain product runs out, your online store marks it as “out of stock” in the product gallery and interrupts the promotions associated with it, such as your banners. Web or your online advertising campaigns. At SitioSimple, you have a functionality to configure your stock. Thus, when your customers make a purchase, it will decrease and allow you to have a precise control of your inventory.
You only have to indicate in each product if you want to use stock control, enter the quantity of available products.
Last, and probably most important, be honest and clear with your customers if you don’t have enough products or there are delays in shipments. Today’s consumers prefer authenticity and transparency in brands.
Make the most of this sales season!
Remember that the peak sales season is a period with a high concentration of promotions that start with the week of Black Friday and Cyber Weekend and that last until Three Kings Day (January 6).
One of the biggest sale periods! Therefore, in addition to preparing in advance, constantly analyze the performance of each promotion or commercial action that you implement during this time and adapt your business to successfully face the next one. SitioSimple makes it easy for you with specific functionalities so you can have everything under control.