As we’ve explored on the Trader blog in the past, customer demand isn’t always predictable. Coping with quiet periods and sudden demand spikes is a stock management challenge that tests even the most prepared business. For some sectors of retail, there are seasonal rises in demand that are entirely predictable.
Many shops will expect Black Friday or Boxing Day to be their biggest sales day of the year. Similarly, DIY stores might use their accounting software to find out that Saturdays of bank holiday weekends are the days that the tills don’t stop ringing.
If your busiest day of the year is practically set in stone, it pays to be properly prepared.
Automated purchase ordering is an invaluable software feature for many merchants – it frees up time when creating purchase orders, and automation significantly reduces the chance of human error. However, when preparing for your busiest sales period of the year, you may wish to adjust your stock thresholds and increase the quantity of stock ordered. Depending on the delivery estimates provided by your suppliers, you may wish to begin tweaking quantities and thresholds up to a month in advance of your big sales day.
Additionally, use your experience of the previous year’s events to optimise stock management this time around. Revisit sales figures and see which brands and product categories sold well, and which disappointed. Of course, consumer preferences and buying habits evolve over time, but this data is a good starting point.
If your business experiences a significant increase in trade across several consecutive months, it’s likely you’ll have considered hiring some temporary staff to help you in store. Again, look back to previous years and assess how the temporary staff fared. Perhaps you’ll be able to contact them again and have them back on board for your busiest sales day. If you’re looking for new hires, don’t throw them in at the deep end – try to have them start at least a week or so before you anticipate demand to skyrocket, else they’ll be more a hindrance than a help.
Familiarise yourself with the promotions you were running this time last year. Did they draw in sales themselves, or was it merely the date or season that prompted a sudden spike in sales? In most cases, it’s a combination of a two – customers will be look to buy products of a certain type at a particular time of year, and will be drawn in by the right promotions. Remember to use your stock control software to set promotions – any discounts will automatically be applied at the counter, saving you plenty of time at the point of sale on your busiest day of the year.
Preparation and planning
If your busiest sales day is so predictable, why not plan for it? The processes we mentioned above are just the basics – you may also wish to optimise marketing, advertising and staff training around this pivotal sales period.
Unsure if your stock control software is up to the demands of a busy sales day? See what Trader’s point of sale and stock control software can do.
Trader is an easy to use electronic point of sale system designed for the unique requirements of building, plumbing and timber merchants, hardware and DIY stores in the UK and Ireland.
Our team are ready to help with any queries or arrange a demo for you.