Will your Inventory Handle the Holidays?

On an aimless wander about our tiny local mall I passed the knife shop that I had passed a hundred times before, but this time something new caught my eye. Something was uniquely different. In the front window sat an array of fashionable men’s grooming supplies such as a stone shaving cream brush and bowl set, a few straight edge barber razors in a glass case, and quite the variety of safety razors. I thought what a marvelous set of new toys for my husband and quickly poked my head in to talk shop with the employees.

Upon further investigation the shopkeeper explained to me that the shaving soaps and creams on the bottom shelf were all handcrafted locally, I thought this fantastic, and I thought what a great sales person to offer me this unique tidbit of knowledge. He went on to state that this was just a test collection that had an extremely limited supply. When I inquired further on this limit he explained that they honestly only ordered one or two of each item, much of the collection has already sold out.   He explained that between their two locations they were driving inventory back and forth every day.

I asked to see a beautiful straight edge razor with a mother of pearl handle. The blade itself didn’t seem the highest quality, but it definitely was a step up from any I had seen locally. “And where are the leather strops,” I asked as I eyed the wide wall of selection.

“Oh we only ordered one of those and it already sold.”

“Well when are you ordering more,” this concerned me that they had only had one in stock when it is a necessary add on to the selection of at least ten straight edge razors they were presenting (not only for the sake of sales but also for the sake of the upkeep of this very high end item). Very passively the employee shrugged, “I don’t know if I will, I am just trying out this collection.” He went onto explain, “I only have one or two of each of these items.”

All the sudden the retail consultant in me shot into gear, “Okay man, consultant to retailer I’m going to be blunt for free right now.   It’s Christmas season, this is a specialty item sold nowhere else in town. Wives will love something new and fresh to grab for their husbands. They will appreciate not having to trust the internet, or driving the three hours to Atlanta. The time to increase your inventory is now. One or two is not going to make you an income and is not going to help you to truly determine the success of a product. This is only September and you already don’t have the necessary items to complete a set or care for these unique items. “

Of course the shopkeeper looked shocked but he also seemed to understand where I was coming from.

“With two locations I would say order a minimum of six of each if you are truly terrified to spend money on new product. Remember with wholesale, the more you purchase at once the more you save in the long run, and the more value this product has to your pocketbook. I would advise to make sure that you have the equal number of necessary add-ons for each item, so if you have 6 safety razors, in 3 different styles, then you must make sure to have at least 18 razor refills to tag onto the sale.   You do not want Black Friday to pass, or find yourself the week before Christmas turning away shoppers because you were not prepared to take care of the wants and needs of your customers. Unless you’ve got it like Versace you are not going to survive off a limited supply.”

A reminder to Shopkeepers, Retailers, and Mangers:

Do you have plenty of inventory for an optimal earning this Christmas? Yesterday was too late; order your product today!

Are you considering the number of add-ons with the number of products when ordering? Take in the full picture of a sale.

A Reminder to Customers:

Make sure to ask about the care and upkeep of any item you are unfamiliar with. Make sure you are purchasing the entire product. No one wants a gift that won’t work until they have to make the time to get out and purchase the batteries themselves.  And you do not want to invest the 200-400 dollars on a straight edge razor that can only have a minimal amount of good uses because you were unable to obtain the items necessary for its upkeep.

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