How to Beat the Holiday Rush with Inventory Management

Couple shopping at christmas fair outdoors At Rathausplatz, Vienna, Austria. Wearing warm clothes, hats and scarfs. Looking at christmas decorations. Evening or night with beautiful yellow lights lightning the scenes.

As soon as those sleigh bells start ringing, small businesses know one thing is coming: the holiday rush. While this time of year brings substantial revenue growth, it can also bring daunting challenges for businesses that don’t correctly utilize inventory management. The months of November and December can account for as much as 30 percent of a retailer’s annual sales. However, without proper inventory management, small businesses can miss out on opportunities for great growth.

So what exactly is inventory management and what does it do? Inventory management is comprised of tracking, managing and organizing product sales, material purchases and other production processes. How a business chooses to manage their inventory can differ. Instead of using the old-fashioned paper and pen method to track inventory, businesses are able to use a system, such as Inventory Control Software, based on barcodes, or radio-frequency identification (RFID), to observe when shipments come in, where raw materials are located and when products have shipped. Businesses of all sizes are able to use inventory control software to reduce the time, effort and inefficiencies in their organizational operations.

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With all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays right around the corner, your small business doesn’t have time to waste. Here are 3 reasons how utilizing proper inventory management this season will help you beat the holiday rush:

  1. More Time to Roast Chestnuts by an Open Fire

Without Inventory Management: Your businesses’ inventory volume will skyrocket during November and December, taking a toll on the extra time you’ll need to track products. In addition, the time you’ll have to manage inventory will decrease due to holiday festivities and traditions that include putting up and taking down seasonal decorations, the increased customer interaction and your own personal holiday preparations and plans. Manually tracking inventory will seem impossible with the busyness of the season because it requires continuous monitoring to ensure all transactions are accounted for and that all products are maintained at the correct stocking level.


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With Inventory Management: A proper inventory management method will allow your business to substantially reduce the amount of time you will spend tracking inventory. TopGolf, premier golf entertainment complex, implemented Wasp Inventory Control in 2011. “I no longer have to wait for someone else’s information to do my job,” said Bryan Harej, TopGolf inventory analyst. “I was immediately able to see reports to determine the usage at each site. From there I can see what we have in stock and what we need to order. I no longer have to guess inventory usage and spend hours a day updating spreadsheets. Plus, I don’t have to deal with last minute orders. Now, I can plan ahead so parts arrive in plenty of time.”

With the holidays right around the corner, it’s imperative for a business to plan ahead and not have to worry about the last minute shoppers. In addition, the less time you’ll have to stress about tracking inventory means the more time you’ll have to simply enjoy the holidays yourself.

Young women shopping in the city, legs and hands close up, carrying paper bags.

  1. Spreading Cheer for All to Hear

Without Inventory Management: In addition to extra time needed for inventory tracking, manually tracking inventory with a spreadsheet will cause issues for your business because it can’t alert you when an item needs to be reordered. Customers will leave your business disappointed when the most popular items of the season are nowhere to be found in your store.

With Inventory Management: Barcode scanners integrated with inventory control software allow you to create and monitor alerts when an item is running out of stock. Therefore, you’ll have time to reorder before it’s completely gone. Peterson Tractor Company is another business that implemented Inventory Control Software. Bruno Muzzi, product support and services representative, and manager for the consignment business at Peterson concluded, “Now we have a way to effectively track off-site inventory, which allows us to provide this unique consignment service to our customers. Not only are we providing better, more convenient service to our customers, we are profitably growing our service business. And that’s great news in today’s market.”

Proper inventory management allows you to prevent putting a damper on your customer’s holiday cheer by keeping inventory consistent and allowing them find every item on their holiday gift list.

  1. Rudolph the Red Nosed – RETURNS!

According to the Wall Street Journal, more than 20 percent of returns happen during the holiday season, which is equivalent to about $60 billion in merchandise. In 2013, the U.S. Postal Service alone handled 3.2 million returns within a couple weeks after Christmas.

Without Inventory Management: It’s no surprise that many holiday gift recipients will want to return an item, and more than likely won’t have a receipt. Businesses with a large inventory or seasonal workers who are unfamiliar with your products will have a hard time completing the desired return, let alone even knowing if the item was purchased in your store.

With Inventory Management: Barcode labels are the simple solution to the range of holiday returns. They can be applied to any product, and even if you don’t have time to barcode each product in your store, employees can simply place a “required for return” barcode sticker on all gifted items. As long as the person returning the item keeps the barcode sticker, there is no need for keeping track of a gift receipt.

November and December can account for as much as 30 percent of a retailer’s annual sales. Instead of missing an opportunity for revenue growth and customer satisfaction, implement a proper inventory management system to save on time, increase your organization’s inventory reliability and reduce the wreck that is holiday returns.

Brian Sutter

Brian Sutter

Director of Marketing at Wasp Barcode
Brian Sutter is the Director of Marketing at Wasp, responsible for the development and execution of the company’s marketing strategy. His role encompasses brand management, direct and channel marketing, public relations, advertising, and social media. He also writes and speaks on topics related to helping small business owners grow their business and improve operational efficiency.
Brian Sutter
Brian Sutter
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