By now, you should have a fair idea of how to prepare yourself for a seasonal sale. You’ve done your research, you have your products, finances, and staff, and you’re ready for a great sales season. But once the holiday season is over, what will you do with your remaining seasonal inventory?
If you are still left with a lot of items sitting in your warehouse after the holiday season, most of them will not be relevant to your customer base until next year. Until then, they are going to be sitting in your warehouse, occupying precious bin space while increasing your holding and maintenance costs. And because they are idle, the capital you spent on acquiring them is locked up until next year. You need a plan that will not only ensure that you don’t have too much seasonal inventory left after the holidays, but also help you clear it out of your storage.
Here are four strategies that can help you with leftover seasonal inventory:
Clearance sales & bundled products
The weeks that immediately follow the holiday season are an ideal time to appeal to bargain buyers, who will be on the lookout for discounts on seasonal items. If you offer your seasonal products at a deep discount immediately after the holiday, you’ll still find a ready market for them, and you’ll get an early start on freeing up warehouse space for next season’s merchandise. Alternatively, you can bundle your seasonal items with faster-moving items instead. Aim for product combinations that add value for your customer base, and then sell them together at an attractive discount.
Tapping into other markets
Your current market isn’t the only way to dispose of your post-season inventory. An online store like Shopify or a sales channel like Amazon can help you supply your products to markets in other countries. For example, if you are selling warm outerwear in the US and you are stuck with a lot of inventory at the end of winter, you can try targeting customers in the Southern Hemisphere where winter is just about to begin.
Perhaps the easiest way to handle post-season inventory is not to buy too much stock in the first place. Overstocking is costly and injurious to your business. To avoid it, you can use your past sales data to arrive at an economic order quantity (EOQ) for every item in your inventory. The EOQ represents the ideal number of units for you to purchase of a particular product to keep up with your demand, and you can calculate it with the help of an inventory management system or an online tool. While this doesn’t guarantee that you won’t have extra stock, it’s a good starting point for planning your purchases in advance.
Vendor managed inventory (VMI)
If you are finding it challenging to manage your own inventory, you can also opt for a VMI. It’s an arrangement in which your vendors are responsible for replenishing your inventory. With a VMI, the vendor also monitors your real-time stock levels and calculates the demand for the products they supply across all your business locations. This means you will almost always have the required inventory on your shelves, minus the headache of doing your own forecasting and ordering.