For many online and high street retailers, the run up to Christmas is not only crucial to overall performance, it can be defining of the entire financial year. With many across the country getting ready to part with our hard-earned money in order to make the most of the festive period, now is the time when stock is hopefully flying off the shelves.
Despite plenty of negativity about high street spend in recent times, the retail industry as a whole is continuing to grow as every yuletide passes; the UK’s spending rose by 1.4% to £79.7 billion in 2018 according to the Centre for Retail Research, which follows a similar level of growth to 2017 figures.
Large amounts of sales often bring with them increased levels of stock loss, as seasonal staff are drafted in to help share the workload, theft rises with heightened footfall and sales cause simple human errors. The time to be stocktaking effectively and regularly is therefore also upon us, for a number of reasons….
If you don’t have it, you can’t sell it
It’s an old adage but if you don’t have it then you certainly can’t sell it. Going into any busy period with an accurate understanding of current stock levels is vital for a number of reasons:
- It means that you can ensure that items are always available when they’re wanted, allowing you to make the most of sales potential and eek out valuable revenue.
- It means that small stock inaccuracies can’t turn into larger ones as sales start to sore, which is a common issue for those without a firm grasp on stock levels.
- It also allows you to ensure, if you have a wide geography your stores cover, that stock is where it needs to be to meet geographical demand and stops you having to play catch up.
Last year’s stocktake will help this year
As businesses we should always be learning, and there’s no better way to do that than taking a look at what happened last year. What was hot and what was not? How much stock should you be carrying into the festive period? How long are the lead times on reorder? These are all questions, along with your causes of stock loss last time round that should ensure you’re in a position to learn and maximise performance based on the past.
Seasonal staffing errors
We’re all human so from time to time we will make mistakes. The unfortunate thing about seasonal workers is that they’re being asked to learn the ropes at a period when they’re going to be under most pressure. Where there are mistakes (whether due to returns, mislabelling or simply not understanding your systems) there will be stock loss, so it’s vital you are abreast of this before it becomes a larger problem.
Higher volumes of theft
Theft is of course the largest cause of stock loss for UK retailers, costing more than £613 million in the last year alone. The problems associated with shoplifting are that you may not know it’s gone from the shelf for some time, meaning that products become unavailable before you anticipate and therefore costs you potential sales. Effective stocktaking throughout the festive period will allow you to not only know what’s gone, but target and tackle the issue with preventative measure if it’s a particular issue in specific stores.