December 19, 2023

Stocking Up or Stockpiling? How to Bounce Back from Holiday Inventory Overload

Holiday inventory management can be challenging for retailers. Here are tips for success following inventory stockpiling.

Branded Resale
December 19, 2023

The holiday season often poses an inventory management challenge for retailers - forecast too little and you lose out on sales, order too much and you carry the burden of overstock. E-commerce holiday sales reached over $200 billion last year, growing nearly 10% year-over-year according to Adobe Analytics data. With more spending shifting online, getting holiday inventory planning right is critical.

Here are a few ways to set yourself up for success following potential holiday stockpiling:

1. Research Customer Behavior

Review sales numbers from prior years across your brand’s categories and specific products. Identify best-sellers vs. slow movers to better predict future demand while maintaining a 10-20% buffer. This will allow you to further anticipate customer behavior when stocking up for the season.

2. Launch A Branded Resale Program

Partner with a branded resale solution, like Treet, to offload excess inventory following the holiday surge. Any products not sold during this time can be listed “brand direct” and sold sustainably to your secondhand community. Girlfriend Collective, Portland Leather Goods, and ASRV have all launched into branded resale this year as a means of offloading inventory. This also gives customers an easy way to re-sell unwanted holiday gifts without jeopardizing your brand.

3. Repurpose and Re-Merchandise

Before marking down leftover holiday stock, consider repurposing seasonal items to use in future promotions tied to other calendared events. Getting creative with remerchandising unsold goods prevents having to heavily discount beyond margins or dispose of products after one brief selling window. Sozy uses its resale site to release strategically timed-out mystery bags of archived inventory. These mystery bags generate exclusivity and high demand, allowing Sozy to sell through 3 years of excess inventory in 3 months. Carefully gauge evergreen appeal before assuming all holiday stock needs to be cleared out.

The key to making it through the holiday season without a major inventory hangover is adaptation - continually optimizing your forecasting, reacting quickly to trends, creatively transitioning items beyond just the holiday window, and leveraging options like branded resale channels. Retailers who can quickly adjust their inventory strategies before, during, and after peak holiday madness will prevent holiday inventory overload and margin erosion. We encourage you to implement a combination of these best practices to sail smoothly into the new year.

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