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SkuVault Blog

Tips and tricks to scale your business from the experts in eCommerce

Keeping up With Sourcing Before and During Peak Season

Posted by Emilie Fritsch on Nov 13, 2014

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Experienced sellers know that peak season sourcing is a year-round game. They make sure that the right products are available in time to tackle the buying spree, while keeping an eye on their pocket. To make the most of your peak season selling, here are some profitable moves to make and helpful strategies to adopt.

Categorize Your Seasonal Products

Online product sales correlate to specific season such as Easter, summer, and of course heavy hitters like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You don’t want to offer products outside the season they perform most competitively - at least, not in any excessive quantities. An extreme example is Christmas decorations; any left in brick 'n mortar stores on Christmas Eve are transformed at the instant the store closes from a must-have to a liability. Some products are sold year-round but still experience peaks and troughs of demand according to the season. For instance, double cream Oreos sell steadily year-round, but still see its sales increase significantly over Christmas and other holidays. In these situations, using product segment specific seasonal profiles will allow you to plan better and execute those plans more effectively; overall it will help you spend money where you're most likely to see a return.

Focus on Familiar Sources with Concrete Delivery Times

In general, the more seasonal a product is, the more difficult it is to manage. It is never a good idea to work on shipments or deals that may take weeks or months to be listable. To make the most of your peak season sourcing move, narrow down your suppliers and make decisions that can get your needed products before the shopping period is out; to make any dough with these goods, you've got to have them online and selling by the first week of the season. Anything you source between now and then should be available to you in days at most, or you should treat it as an inventory for next year, not this year.

Begin to Source for Next Year

As the wholesale holiday market slows down, goods availability will increase even as prices begin to fall. These changes won't happen in time to allow you to profit greatly from them this year, but you should be looking for great deals on products to support your selling throughout the coming year and into next year's holiday season. The public tends to forget about the seasonal sales boom once the holiday comes to an end, but for many experienced sellers, the post-holiday slump marks the high point of wholesale sourcing activity.

Maintain Liquidity

One way you can reduce the risks of carrying inventory is to keep some of your planned dollars in your back pocket. Planning your holiday sales isn’t a license to go out and spend it all up front. How you execute your plan is as important as the plan itself. If you only commit as many of your dollars as you have to before the season starts, for only as much inventory as it takes to kick off the season, you’ll have more liquidity during the season to respond to what your customers are doing. Maintaining liquidity gives you the maximum flexibility to invest those dollars where you really need them, when you really need them.

Don't Overreact

If you're a new seller this year and you didn't lay a sourcing foundation for this holiday season weeks or even months ago, think small. Don't try to turn yourself into a holiday sales powerhouse by making big buys before the peak season; your competition is likely way ahead of you, having done most of their holiday sourcing when prices were lower and selection and availability were better. Instead, focus on the techniques that make the most of what you already have and the selling you're already doing. Target next year to drive growth and make a big holiday splash.

Use SkuVault!

Our inventory management system provides you with the data you need to see which products are already doing well for you. Pay special attention to those that are exceeding expectations and that you may sell out of before the season is done. Top performers can often be sold with decent margins even if you now have to pay more for inventory than you did the first time around. Be prepared and constantly ready to pull the trigger on last-minute inventory acquisition for anything that becomes a top performer, since it's better to keep selling at lower margins (as long as you're still coming out ahead) than to run out of inventory while there's still strong demand. Also it fetches you more greenback to keep your cash inflow healthy.

All the way through peak season, you need to source strategically. Anything you acquire is going to be less about dollars and cents and more about using the peak season boom to take advantage of the position you're already in, whatever that position happens to be.

Optimize Your Supply Chain with SkuVault WMS. Request a demo.

 

Topics: eCommerce, Inventory Tips and Tricks, Peak Season