If you’re a first-year brick and mortar store owner, you might be wondering what you’ll do with holiday-specific inventory that’s still in your store after December 25th. Or, maybe you’ve been open a few years but you’ve wondered how other retailers handle this every season. I get it. As I started on my brick and mortar path, I wondered these things too! I’m here to give you some inventory tips and ideas on how to decide what to do with that “leftover” merchandise.
Dead inventory can drain a retail business, so you want to focus on keeping things fresh with these inventory tips!
As the end of the season approaches, you should consider marking holiday items down. Once January hits, clearance pricing is definitely in order.
I recommend using a variety of pricing models, but let’s say you’re using keystone pricing (double the wholesale price) – you can mark your items down up to 50% without taking a loss. If you’re pricing higher, then you have more wiggle room for discounts.
If discounting the merchandise isn’t enough to push it out the door, take a look at each set of items and ask yourself a few questions.
- Is it a good seller but you ordered too many? This is simple, place it in a box and bring it back out next year. Yes, this works and many retailers do this so don’t feel awkward about it. One year later and you should have plenty of new customers and fresh eyes on those products.
- Are you surprised it didn’t sell well and think it has the potential to do well next year? Maybe it wasn’t merchandised well or the pricing wasn’t right. Maybe you can style it differently next time around, bundle it with something else or add something to it to make it more visually appealing. If it stands a chance, try something new next year and give that a try!
- Was it a poor seller? These items did not sell well and you feel like they won’t sell next year either. This happens. Don’t beat yourself up about it. With time, comes experience in buying the right merchandise for your store and customers. First, ask yourself if the items are ideal for decorating the store next year or for a creative window display? Repurposing is sometimes an option – get creative with it. If that’s the case, box it up and store it.
For the remainder of your poor sellers – watch for an article in January where I’ll give you a comprehensive list of ideas for getting rid of that dead inventory!
In the meantime, as you continue on your journey as a retail store owner, you want to learn how to be “in tune” with your customers – what they like, what they don’t like.
You want to listen to what your customers are saying about products as they walk through your store. What they ask you or what they tell you when they are checking out. This information is invaluable. If you need to, write down as much feedback as you can in a notebook and ask your team members to do the same thing. Throughout the year, review the notes – you might be surprised at some trending topics or consistent feedback your customers are giving you.
One more inventory tip… deciding what to do with seasonal merchandise is common for retailers, but if you find that this type of inventory is out of control in your stock room, it could be a sign of overbuying. You’ll want to set up a system to avoid this in the future.
My biggest wish is that you sell out of your seasonal merchandise and you don’t have to worry about any of these things! Happy Holidays!
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Since founding The Salvaged Boutique with her sister in 2013, Kathy watched her passion grow from a fun blog and hobby with her sister on the side of her full-time job, to a thriving brick and mortar home decor store. After running the store for years, she saw the need for an online community where small business owners could find resources. So she took it upon herself to create Savvy Shopkeeper, a blog and online business dedicated to educating, motivating and building a community of shop owners. From a full-time job to full-time entrepreneur, Kathy helps hundreds of store owners and makers navigate store ownership while running a store herself.