Keeping track of inventory and sales is incredibly important to keeping your customers happy. Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind regarding inventory and sales:
- In stock, on the shelf. The first tip is the simplest. Keep items in stock and on the shelf. If a customer walks in and sees an empty shelf where their product should be, there’s only about a 50-50 chance they’ll look for an associate to ask if there is overstock somewhere. The other 50% of the time, they’ll just walk out. If it’s not on the shelf and they ask for help finding it, and you DON’T have it, you now have a pissed off customer because they wasted time and energy coming to the store, looking for the item, finding help, and waiting for you to look it up and tell them you don’t have it. No bueno.
- Managing inventory. The other half of managing inventory is making sure you don’t have too much overstock. Too much overstock is wasted money for you if you aren’t selling through it fast enough, and can lead to losing a lot of money down the line when you have to mark it down to sell through the product.
- Markdowns. Don’t get me wrong, markdowns do have their place. Many customers will come in to check out marked down and clearance items. Set a schedule for markdowns and sales. It’s better to take small hits a little more frequently than a huge hit all at once.
- Specials and sales. Running regular sales is a great way to get some good business. Let customers know that sales you have before you start running them. Keep up the customer contact throughout the duration of the sale. Make sales applicable to your products and customer demographic. Obviously flower shops will have Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day specials. Hardware stores will want to play up Christmas and Father’s Day. Bicycle shops may want to have a Beginning-of-Season sale in the Spring and an End-of-Season sale at the end of summer. Clothing stores should consider having sales right before the next seasons’ inventory comes in.
All of these things are important to keeping customers happy when they walk through your door (and more importantly, when they walk OUT of your door!). By managing inventory and keeping markdowns and sales consistent, you will be able to manage your business better, as well as ensure customers are getting a consistent experience regardless of when they shop with you.