Prepare Yourself for Holiday Inventory Planning, Like a Pro.

Excited for holiday season? That’s a lame question to ask! Who wouldn’t be excited about the holidays?

To make our holidays enjoyable, who helps us in making it more exciting? The restaurant owners, caterers, eCommerce companies, shop-owners, event planners, entertainment companies and more, in order to make their customers happy and earn profits!

This blog is a discussion on tips and tricks for successful holiday stock planning by retail stores or brands. How businesses do their stock planning before the holiday, during holiday and after the holiday season will decide their bottom line for that year.

Few tips to be prepared for a successful holiday season

By taking customers survey and feedback on their expectations or requirements will always help companies to understand what is going to make a store more appealing and can plan on strategies beforehand to improve sales.

  • Comparing previous year data helps businesses to plan for their upcoming season sales.
  • Keeping a note of mistakes done in the previous sales period and strategize on making the upcoming sale more productive.
  • Keeping up with the recent trend by being updated with social media happenings, upcoming movies, shows and events in order to design products and advertising strategies to successfully attract customer with relevant deals.
  • Making the store more customer-centric in order to drive repeat business, making it more organized to earn customers loyalty and profits.
  • Planning on product promotion through banners, social media sites or by organizing product launch events to reach more people and generate sales.
  • Tracking the amount of time taken for a particular product to arrive. This will help in keeping up with inventory level planning.
  • Placing orders in advance to be ready with the stocks well before the start of holiday season to avoid any last minute rush
  • Using an Inventory Management tool for inventory planning, to be updated with online or offline sales of a particular product.
  • For online sale, using an omnichannel platform to maintain multiple channel visibility will help brands to expand their business across channels

What needs to be done as you approach the date of holiday rush or during the holiday?

It is all going to take most of the time in planning out the marketing strategy to attract customers. This is regardless of the fact whether the company is into selling fashion apparels, electronic items, home decor, vehicles or whatsoever. Towards the end of the article, we will talk about a successful product launch by a major electronics brand. It’s interesting to note how their first launch was a major failure and then subsequent launch during holidays brought them to the promised land. Exciting story ahead, but for the time being let’s discuss a few things that brands need to be doing as they approach the season:

  • Brands will have to carefully plan on marketing their businesses to gain sale through different mediums like radio, TV commercials, flyers, social media sites or promotional email.
  • Targeting the right customers when planning for the campaign through Google / Facebook PPC and in social media. Segmenting the right audience and then aggressively going after them results in increased sales vs mass marketing.
  • The more the offers during holiday season, more customers get attracted towards the store. Offers can include a heavy discount on products, while ensuring minimum required profit margin, providing freebies to customers on spending particular range of amount in shopping from their store.
  • Urging buyers to post a selfie with product and coming up with a contest on social media for them to win free goodies from store. This can be a game changer for consumer brands. Consumers have a habit of following social media religiously. Getting few early adopters to post their selfies on social media can create a viral effect that too organically. Brands can also create mass following by getting celebrities to post selfies on social media using their products. This has a huge pull and can bring in exponential high sales.
  • Readiness to procure items in short notice, they can plan to set their reorder point and be ready with stock replenishment plan. Otherwise, can buy extra inventory in advance and maintain safety stock.
  • Store with multiple locations should be ready with a plan to transfer their stocks from one location to the other if last-minute surge happens at one location. In the case of eCommerce, quickly the fulfillment can be routed to the other location. You will require a multi-location WMS solution for that.

What if the stocks are still left in bulk after the season rush? What should stores be doing in order to avoid huge loss on the left out or unsold products?

Managing Business after Holiday Season

After the holiday season is all about clearance. If the inventory level looks easy and the stock is almost cleared, plan on restocking the store with new goods. If not, then you need to plan for clearance sale on slow moving products.

  • Providing heavy discount on slow moving products. Companies can plan to sell overstocked products at low prices.
  • Strategizing on selling products with one on one offer. Brands can apply offers applicable on these products as one on one or one on two sale offers in order to clear the stocked up items.
  • Distributing discount coupon to employees as a token of appreciation for successful implementation of holiday rush.
  • Open a poll with employees to suggest clearance idea and provide goodies to the employee and family for the best suggestions.
  • Making a note of mistakes done this time will come handy with the start of next holiday planning.

At last this is all about maintaining profits and improving sales and marketing in the retail (online and offline both) industry.

We are sure there is a lot more to these suggestions. It is not that easy to carry out the above process. The main issue is definite on practical implementation. Ones the brands start getting hands on experience, it starts getting nonchalant in executing the plan successfully.

It is always imperative to start planning as soon as possible for the big holiday rush like, Christmas, New Year, Halloween etc for a successful year ahead.

Now let’s talk about the major brand that used holiday season to promote their new product line.

Successful Product Launch by Phillips during Holidays

Philips being one of the largest electronic company across the world came up with a new product launch, Philips Air fryer, in July 2012. The company thought it would be a great success without running a whole lot marketing campaign or promotions. As, this product provides healthier and tasty food with 80% less oil consumption, company thought more customers would be interested in buying without much persuasion.

Problem with Initial Launch of Philips Air Fryer

They faced lot of issues with the launch in the market as the cost of the product was high and was used to prepare only 2 to 3 dishes only. Also, the big question was, how cooking without oil would make the food taste good.

This failure was right before the holiday season. A failed product during holiday means dead inventory and end of life for the product. However Phillips didn’t want to wind down so easily on its Air Fryer, hence assorted to a bunch of aggressive moves to drive much higher sales during holidays.

Subsequent Actions and then the Final Launch of Philips Air Fryer

So the company came up with an idea to launch smart marketing campaigns for the product to educate the customers.
In order to improve search results on Google, Philips marketing team came up with an idea of promoting on social Media and YouTube channels by starting an online cookery show.

The YouTube channel featuring healthy daily recipes through an online chef celebrity and sharing it on social media, promoting the recipes with 80% less oil.

After their campaign was live across the social platforms, they started getting engagement from customers and their sale started boosting up.

Digital media is a huge platform to grab the attention of the targeted audience only if used correctly. Philips Airfryer has used it wisely whether it is targeting audience through video, creating interactive contents on Facebook, uploading videos or opening a community forum. They have used it all to leverage product recognition and to create awareness about it.

The whole campaign helped them to connect with more audience and increase sale by 266%.

Below is a beautiful picture of Philips Air Fryer.

Happy Frying Without Frying 🙂

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