Peak trading tips: How to prepare for peak season
Let’s face it, it’s never too early for inventory planning as we creep closer to peak season – according to the major Aussie retailers, there’s a perfect storm brewing, mainly due to outbreaks of the Delta strain forcing closures of ports and putting a massive “strain on nearly every point in global supply chains”, which could mean huge delays in getting consumer goods into Australia – ouch!
If you’ve ordered anything (especially from international sources) to be delivered in the last few weeks, you’d know that there’s been some hefty wait times, even on consumer products – if it’s affecting big retailers, you can be sure it’ll affect the little guys.
So, to help you gear up, we’ve got some peak trading tips to help you beat the holiday rush:
Look at your sales history
Not only can you get an idea of what you need for inventory planning – but you might also get some new ideas for promotions that worked well and how to improve them for the current conditions!
Your sales history is a goldmine of information – start here and factor in current sales trends, supply chains and what’s possible given the time-frame and current restrictions. This will shape your sales plan and ensure you are in prime position to beat the holiday rush.
Think about your processes
Can your business keep up with demand? How about your facilities, equipment, and staff? Another great peak trading tip is to start thinking about every step in the process as early as possible. Decide how you can streamline and simplify your processes, or what can be improved to help things run smoothly during the peak. Give your staff any training necessary before things start to pick up and overwhelm you.
And probably most importantly, take into account the importance of inventory planning.
Due to the pandemic and affected supply chains, you’ll need sufficient inventory earlier in the year than usual as customers are being encouraged to get their Christmas shopping done early (and mostly online due to lockdowns – but hey, at least it’s not a toilet paper apocalypse!).
However, this could come with a large risk – as getting your capital tied up in stock can pose all sorts of challenges for small businesses, including how to store said stock. This is the importance of inventory planning.
If you’re worried about the cash flow needed to get the stock you need in time, a short-term business loan could be just what you need. Capify can help you get fast access to funds, that can go a long way with your inventory planning and getting you the stock you need in time to beat the holiday rush!
Forecast new product demand
Many businesses have had to pivot or diversify their product offering. Are you adding any new products just in time for peak season? Make sure you have sound data and solid demand for anything new you might be adding – this is the biggest inventory forecasting benefit. You need to know whatever stock or inventory you invest in will actually sell at a profit!
Have a clear strategy
Whether you’re discounting as a promotion or because of “end-of-season”, having a clear strategy ahead of time can prevent you from undermining your brand and profits. Protect your profit margin, cash flow, reputation, and customer loyalty by knowing exactly when you’re going to discount and by how much throughout the season – plus this has huge inventory forecasting benefits as you’ll know exactly how much inventory you’ll need to get you through the peak season.
On that note, don’t forget to promote your offers ahead of time! Get in before your competitors, create a reason for your customers to get in early and beat the holiday rush so they can ensure they’ll get their goods before Christmas. This will also help with your inventory planning and storage – win win!
Have a contingency plan
We’ve saved the most important peak trading tip for last. I think we’re all well aware of the spanner COVID can throw in the works. If this last year has taught us anything, it should be how important it is to have a back-up plan; and while Freedom Day is coming, you’ve got to make sure you’ve got contingency plans so you can handle whatever COVID throws at you.
Whether it be problems in the supply chain or lockdowns forcing customers to stay home – think about your contingencies EARLY and how these things might affect your inventory planning.