If you’re in your first few years as a 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. As a new retailer, making decisions around flipping inventory after the holidays can be challenging.
I get it. When I started on my brick-and-mortar path, I wondered these things too! I’m here to give you some inventory tips and ideas so you can decide what to do with that “leftover” merchandise.
Start with Markdowns
In retail, 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.
As the end of the season approaches, you can consider marking holiday items down. Start with a low discount (10-25%) and start to increase it once Christmas passes.
Once January hits, clearance pricing (25-40%) is most likely in order, especially if you’re left with A LOT of seasonal merchandise.
If discounting the merchandise isn’t enough to push it out the door, take a look at the seasonal items and ask yourself a few questions.
Ask Yourself These 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. After one year passes 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.
- Will it sell at at half off? Host a Facebook Live Clearance Sale – many retail store owners, including myself, have had great success with Live Clearance Sale events. These types of events should involve a substantial discount (50%) and although they do take some prep work, they are usually well worth the effort!
Listen and Learn:
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 throughout the year and ask your team members to do the same thing. At the end of the year, review the notes – you might be surprised at some trending topics or consistent feedback your customers are giving you.
Don’t get trapped with Dead Inventory
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.
Dead inventory can drain a retail business, so you want to focus on keeping things fresh all year long.