If you own and operate your own retail business, you know the holidays can be one of the busiest times of the year. It’s always good to prepare in advance to make your holiday season the most profitable it can be. Everything from planning your product offering, going live with holiday inventory, and determining just how much inventory you will need are all things you need to plan in advance of the holidays.
If you are new to the retail game, you may not have much experience with holiday forecasting. From my experience, you can expect anywhere from 10-20 times the retail sales as during any other time of the year. With gift giving and decorating for the holidays at the top of everyone’s mind, items like holiday decorations and small gift items are sure to sell well.
Start by looking at your current offerings and seeing what the top sellers are. Is there a way to capitalize on those items during the holidays? Maybe try bringing in new color schemes in those items, or fill out your selection with other similar items. Planning for the items that are likely to sell and getting those products inline for the holidays is step one.
Determining holiday inventory levels.
Once you have determined your holiday product offering, it is time to plan your inventory. As I mentioned above, sales can be anywhere from 10-20 times what you would normally sell in a month. The first few years will always just be a guessing game as far as retail goes. The two common fears are ordering conservatively and selling out, or ordering too much and being left with tons of unsold inventory. If you are selling items that are popular all year long, taking a risk and ordering more inventory might be the best call because you can always sell the excess in the next few months. If you are selling seasonal items, plan to be a bit more conservative in your ordering. You can get stuck with items that won’t be sellable until the next holiday season, and you don’t want to tie up capital in unsaleable goods.
When to start selling holiday merchandise.
My handy tip is to take your cues from big box stores. If you start to see fall or Christmas decor out on the shelves, make sure your online shop is stocked and ready to ship as well. Once consumers start to see the items pop up in store on their Target run, they will start mentally planning for that season and online shopping will start up soon after. I have known people to order Halloween items in May and Christmas in July. While the sales may not compare to the actual in season sales, those extra orders aren’t going to hurt!
If you plan accordingly, you can have record breaking sales during the holiday season. And once you have been selling for a few years, it will be easy to know what to expect and plan for inventory and sales wise. But don’t be surprised if you sell out of a few items you didn’t think you would or something you thought would be a best seller falls flat. That is the name of the retail game, my friends. But thank goodness for after holiday sales!
Don’t forget to brush up on your photography skills and learn how to take shots that sell with our Product Photography Tips 101!
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Kara designs and sells everything from wrapping paper and throw pillows, to cocktail shakers and flower vases. All with the signature colorful bold patterns Kailo Chic is known for!