In this fast-paced, changing world of brick-and-mortar retail, it is more important than ever to have the correct product in stock at the right time to meet consumer demand. One of the most frustrating and costly issues for you, as a retailer, is to get a customer into the store only to miss a sale because you are out of stock. It is especially important to have the necessary amount of stock on hand to meet increased demand that can occur during certain sales seasons.
Seasonality can vary from one store to another. Some stores may see an increase in sales before hunting season. Another store with an indoor range may see increased sales during the hot summer or cold winter months.
Still others may see a lift in sales at Christmas or tax return time. By being prepared for each season, you can reap the benefits of increased sales, profits and customer loyalty.
No matter what time of year your store experiences more traffic, the best practice is to plan ahead and use your point-of-sale (POS) data to make informed inventory-buying decisions. Planning ahead means reviewing your sales data and starting to build your inventory at least a month in advance of the anticipated increase. If you wait and try to react to the increased sales once the season begins, it’s too late. By the time you react to the increase you may miss a large portion of the sales and have difficulty getting the inventory back on the shelf in time.
Your POS system helps you prepare and take advantage of increased traffic and selling cycles. At minimum you should look at reports that show sales history by the month for the same time period a year ago. When reviewing historical data, consider that it can be skewed due to anomalies that caused a spike in sales. Take those anomalies into account and manage your inventory accordingly. Review the quantity for each item at the end of the month last year. This will help you identify items that sold out before the end of the seasonal surge. These are prime opportunities to increase sales this year. Utilizing your POS system to check historical data will help you make informed buying decisions and be prepared to leverage the next surge in sales.
Many of the POS systems have a feature to set an increased minimum and maximum for a date range. Once the season is over the system’s min/max will reset to the standard levels. Remember to review last year’s monthly sales to properly adjust the min/max. Check last season’s end-of-month quantities to identify any missed opportunities. Considering the prevalence of seasonal fluctuations in sales in the firearms industry, an investment in time spent on inventory management will pay dividends for your business.