How to Keep the Right Merchandise in Stock and Become a Better Inventory Manager
- By Jeff Haefner
Keeping your inventory accurate is one of the most important
aspects of your business because if you don't have enough
inventory, you'll lose sales. If you have too much, you'll
tie up valuable cash in an overstocked inventory. Not to
mention, your merchandise is what defines your store and
tells the customers who you are.
That's why it's essential for you to ALWAYS order what your
customers really want to buy. That might seem obvious, but
most retailers make the critical mistake of ordering
merchandise based off what they like or what they think is
going to be a hot seller instead of what the customer truly
wants. Whether we want to admit it or not - we've all made
As an example, you've probably been to a trade show where
you found a great new widget that you really liked. Or maybe
your supplier labeled it the "hottest seller on the market".
So you were really excited and decided to order a whole
bunch. But all too often, those widgets end up sitting in
your store collecting dust because your customers don't have
a need for them - even though you think they are really
cool. This is where pride and personal taste can cost A LOT
The truth is that it doesn't really matter what you like or
what your suppliers try to push on you, the only thing
that's important is what your customers want.
So how do you figure out what your customers really want?
Actually it's quite simple... every time one of your
customers buys something from you they're voting. These
votes are cast with their wallets. So it's essential for you
to keep track of their votes and add them up. This will tell
you what your customers really want.
Once you tally the votes, you're going to find that some
items sell very fast, some items sell very slow, and some
items don't sell at all. And unless you already keep track
of this information, you'll probably be surprised by which
items are moving the fastest. So it's extremely important
to track and tally your votes!
If you identify inventory that's dead or moving slow, you
need to put those items on clearance and get them out of
your store. That's right. Take the loss and get them out
fast - so you can get something in your store that will make
Now it's still important for you to find new merchandise and
constantly test new products to see if they sell. But before
you decide to order new merchandise, ask for the market data
on the item so you can see how well it's selling and make a
decision from there. If they turn out to be great sellers,
then you should consider stocking that item on a continual
basis. If the new item doesn't sell, put it on clearance and
get it out as fast as you can!
You might be wondering how you are going to keep track of
all your customers' votes and calculate the totals in a
timely manner. Well that's where a good point of sale system
can be a lifesaver.
Since POS software tracks all your sales, you can easily
pull up detailed reports that show you exactly what's
selling and you can use those figures to properly stock the
items your customers want. By using a POS system to track
sales, you'll be able to keep your customers satisfied and
now you can put the money that's normally locked up in dead
inventory to good use.
To your success.
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