Are you stuck with inventory that isn’t selling fast enough? Perhaps you took a big bet and discovered some products weren’t as successful as you had hoped. You’re not alone. Excess inventory is a culprit in many DTC brands.
Excess can be quantified as any amount greater than your ideal WOS target. Reduced to numbers on a spreadsheet, these insights can go unrecognized until you realize your stock to sales ratio is off. Before you go putting everything on sale, take a look at the following ways to strategically manage your overstock without weakening your brand.
- Do a price reset. As a result of the corona-economy, consumers are being untrained from cyclical promotional purchasing. Now is the time to review your portfolio’s pricing and adjust the things that don’t make sense. Assess your competitive market as well as internal metrics. You should preserve GMROI as much as possible, but remember you have a whole assortment of products. Some may sell better than others, thus increasing your margin and allowing you to take sacrifices elsewhere.
- Prioritize and protect long term and bestseller SKUs. Preserve promotional strategies for things that are climate sensitive and broken in sizing. Treat these discounted products as gateways for full price purchases on non-seasonal items. Promotional strategies can go beyond markdowns into more creative outlets like gifts with purchase, re-activation of past customers, or samples to acquire new ones.
- Create sets of complementary products. Bundling can be a form of moving through inventory without visibly reducing retail prices. If something is a slow seller, bundle it with a complementary product and offer a haircut on the combined price to show value. Not only will this allow you to move through the desired goods, you’ll also see an increase in cart value and incentivize a purchase of a like product.
- Optimize cross-merchandising. This can be done through product recommendations or visuals in marketing. Similar to sets, this helps the customer know what products go well together, and can incentivize higher cart value.
- Opt for bulk discounts over markdowns. “Buy more, save more” promotions will not only deliver higher cart values, they also preserve product integrity and optimize other costs such as logistics.
- Get creative with sustainability. Donating excess inventory to reputable causes can not only build trust in your brand, but it is also a form of good will. With the rise in social responsibility awareness, economically friendly re-use and disposal of inventory comes with immeasurable value.
- Assess your marketing. Beyond product strategies, consider your innovative marketing efforts both on a product and business level. Are there any channels you haven’t entered? Or regions? Off season goods can be prime merchandise in different hemispheres. There can even be alternative, more in demand, uses for your products. Considering re-marketing as a way to sell goods for a different purpose.
- Plan ahead. ensure you are taking pre-emptive measures before finding yourself in a position of overstock. In an effort to protect cash, try working with your suppliers on staggered delivered, shared risk solutions, or extended payment terms. If production has not yet begun for upcoming seasons, re-evaluate your needs and assortment. If your brand and supply chain allow, make assortment changes to products that are in high demand. Finally, prioritize investments in top sellers over a full breadth of assortment.
Beyond the impact on profitability, volatility in inventory has an undeniable affect on forecasting. Ensure you’re utilizing the critical metrics to track the health of your inventory. Streamlining your processes can make way for deeper analysis of your business.
With Fuse, data is actualized daily to save you time and ensure accuracy. No more exporting data into a fragile web of Excel sheets. Fuse generates algorithmically-driven forecasts, while helping you maintain granular control of the data. We streamline the inventory planning process and help you manage your supply chain in real-time. Master your cash flow and optimize your business with Fuse Inventory.