The extended holiday season – from Black Friday through to Boxing Day – presents more sales opportunities than any other time of the year. Especially this year, the Black Friday-Cyber Monday (BFCM) weekend is expected to set records again as consumers in Australia look for discounts that can offset the rising cost of living, writes Scott Wiltshire – GM, Oracle NetSuite ANZ.
Here are our top tips for retailers to maximise profits while ensuring smooth operations during the biggest retail event leading up to this year’s festive season.
Make an inventory list (and check it twice!)
Getting inventory levels right ahead of a sales period is a delicate balance. Businesses need enough stock to meet the surge in demand, but be mindful that too much can be wasteful and hurt the bottom line.
Analysing historical sales data alongside current buying patterns can help businesses predict which products will be in greatest demand. With this information, businesses can ensure they order the right product, and the right amount of inventory in time for the sales, without tying up cash in excess stock or storage fees.
Reviewing the data can also help businesses pinpoint the ideal pricing strategy to lure in customers without constricting profit margins.
Give the gift of fast order fulfilment
Fast order fulfilment is critical to customer satisfaction. Even the most innovative customer experience can be negated in an instant if businesses are unable to deliver products quickly and accurately.
Simplifying and standardising fulfilment processes can help businesses increase efficiency and decrease order fulfilment errors. For example, a business should group similar orders together to improve pick-and-pack efficiency.
A sophisticated warehouse management system can take this one step further and prompt staff to pick items based on warehouse layout to maximise productivity, while also ensuring that orders are filled correctly via mobile scanning.
Embrace the magic of sales automation
The influx of store traffic, as well as increased enquiries and orders can bring about more customer service demands and administrative tasks. Enabling automation throughout the business, from invoicing to fulfillment, can alleviate some of the stress and man hours that are generally associated with a busy period.
Start by identifying where your team’s time is most valuable and look for solutions like a cloud ERP system to automate the rest, which can in turn help boost productivity and increase accuracy across the business.
Using technology to automate tasks that don’t require the high level of personal touch can free up your team’s time to work on revenue-generating activities. In addition, connecting data across the business can help ensure your team has the same source of truth – from inventory levels to order status – enabling them to better serve customers.
Don’t be afraid of extra helpings
Rather than waiting until the end of the sales period, reviewing KPIs throughout the holiday sales period can enable businesses to quickly identify trends. For example, when discounting products, businesses want to be sure that the average order size – and value – remains healthy. Any downtrend to this metric should compel business leaders to adjust their approach to achieve better results.
A robust business management system will gather, highlight and update performance data on a centralised dashboard. As a result, the business can track its progress in real-time and easily and quickly understand critical information to make timely adjustments if necessary.
Wrapping it up
Shopping holidays can be a busy and stressful time for retailers, but it’s also a time brimming with opportunities to make sales and acquire new customers. Striking a balance between supply and demand, streamlining order fulfilment processes, embracing automation, and tracking KPIs in real-time will help holiday sales run smoothly. With these tips, retailers can ensure the holiday shopping period is a roaring success and set themselves up for a prosperous future.
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