They also sell on various other sales channels like Amazon and Sears. Last Christmas, John decided to switch off his phone and go to the Bahamas for a vacation.
How did he do this with out going completely crazy?
He followed a few easy steps, booked his ticket and went to the Bahamas. When he came back, John had made three times more money than last year during the holidays.
Be smart, be like John.
So what exactly did John do?
John followed these 8 easy tips to get set for the holidays:
- Most People Don’t Do This but it Makes a Big Difference.
What is this amazing thing that makes an incredible difference to stress levels?
Plan way in advance.
Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, Black Friday/ Cyber Monday or end-of-the-year holidays. To start planning a week ahead is going to get you nowhere. Start at least a month or two in advance.
- Note down all the holidays and celebrations in a year in your calendar.
- Put down reminders for meetings and starting campaigns at least two months before sale.
- Share the calendar with your team and encourage inputs for each promotion.
Psst… Integrate the calendar software with your back-end. Although most back-end software have an in-built calendar. Everyone in your team can access. You can integrate any other team planner software that you like or get a custom one built for your online store
- Get an Accurate Picture to Where You Are
Even though it might not be time for your annual inventory check. It might be wise to do a physical inventory check before the holiday season. For two reasons. First, it gives you a complete, real picture of your products, their state and where they are for easy pick-up (in case you have not organized/ slotted your warehouse); and second, frequent inventory checks keeps tabs on the accuracy of your inventory system.
Call up your warehouse manager and schedule a physical inventory check.
Update the information in your system and get reports on your current inventory levels.
You might want to skip this step, but DON’T!
Products that have been lying unnoticed for ages get found. It might also be a good idea to include these products in your sale items to get rid of obsolete stock.
- A Simple Way to End Worry About Running Out of Stock During Holidays
Time to gear up for the big crowd! Fill up those empty shelves and bring out the good stuff. It’s time to restock!
The use of inferior content that creates a massive reduction of sales includes:
- Observe trends from last year’s sale and determine which products were hot.
- Check market trends for something new that is coming up this season. Depending on your market, items that were in last year may not be so hot this year.
- Do an inventory check of what you have and what you may need to order.
- Decide which other products you’d like to promote this season.
This would be a good time to dive into you slow-moving and obsolete stock.
- Order at least 30-45 days in advance or even earlier. Your supplier will be swamped with other orders. So it’s best to get him before the others do. So you get special treatment.
- Optimize your orders. Don’t order too much or you’ll end up with excess stock taking up space in your inventory.
- Definition of “optimized quantity” varies with each business. Based on sales reports of the past, you can be the best judge of what is best quantity for your products.
- Turn your Inventory into your Personal Assistant with this Feature
Have quick “low-stock” alert notification
Alerts will prevent you from stock-outs. This is more important during the holiday season, especially for your hot-selling items. A “low-inventory” add-on will send you a notification. When an item is running low on inventory and allows easy re-order of the said item.
- Enlist your predicted hot-selling items of the season.
- Set the limit for “low stock” notification for each of the above items (keep the limit high enough to buy you enough time to order new stock)
- Choose to “auto-order” some of your fastest selling products. So that you won’t have to worry about re-ordering.
Sometimes, “auto-order” also may lead to excess stock. Make sure there is an email/ mobile notification for every time you place an order with the supplier.
- Keep in Contact with Your Most Important People … your Dropshippers
It’s the best way to save money on your own inventory. But, it is important that you and your drop shipper stay in close communication. Once you have a fair idea of your drop shipper’s inventory, you know where you stand with sales.
Have your drop shipper send you the latest inventory data.
Inquire about his plans for the holiday rush and the steps he is taking to deal with it.
Arrange for more frequent updates during the sale. Especially if you are managing drop shipper’s inventory manually. Manual = feeding data sheets or CSV into your own system.
It is always better to encourage your drop shippers to upgrade. To a system where their inventory can update real-time by using an API.
It will make both your life and their life much easier.
In case that doesn’t work out, you may seek other drop shippers. As manual entry results in the loss of both time and money, which may not be worth it in the end.
- Handling Returns Made Easy with These Steps
While holidays are great for sales, it also entices heavy returns after the sale is over. In the end-of-the-year 2015, retailers estimate that total annual returns will reach $260.5 billion. This accordinging to the NRF. Although returns may not be so great for your sales report. Proper returns management can go a long way in building loyal customers. Boosting profits in the long run. Here’s how you can manage holiday returns, in an effective method:
1.Have a fixed return policy.
2.Specify a timeline in which customers can return their products to avoid conflicts
3.Also specify the conditions that define accepteable returns e.g. damaged, wrong size etc.
4.Print a returns slip with each gift-packed/ sale item to help create easy returns
Manage refunds efficiently. Inefficient refunds piss off customers more then anything.
Reversing transactions can be a real pain. Alternatively, you can offer money voucher of the same amount. This encourages more sale on your website.
- Always Be Ready to Execute a Plan B
Set back-up plans for all possible contingencies
Think of all the possible problems that could arise because of the crazy traffic. Stock outs, server down, shipment hold-ups, incorrect order processing, whatever…
- Set back-up plans for everything. For example: if an item goes out of stock, have a pop-up asking for the customer’s email to notify when in stock. (You could also offer an upsell.)
- Assign who-does-what in an event of an emergency.
- Delegate work and responsibilities to your team members.
- Make leaders and make them accountable for what happens in your absence.
This is the most important step as your team needs to manage everything in your absence. Don’t leave anything up to their imagination. Make sure they know your backup plan and are onboard with it
- Make your Vacation One to Remember
Switch off your phone and leave for your vacation
As simple as it sounds, get up and go. You’re good for the holidays. You’ve managed everything. Made your store more efficient (it’s already making more money). They don’t need you this holiday season.
Could John have done it better? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!