As a seasoned e-commerce purchaser, you know the ever-changing dynamics of retail. While your business thrives during peak seasons, you know the summer season often brings a dip in sales and reduced customer engagement. Your customers are on holiday or decide to take the opportunity of the better weather to spend time and money outside their homes. However, why not turn this quieter sales period into an opportunity to focus on purchasing and inventory management strategies and make a good margin regardless of turnover? This blog will explore six concrete tips that show you how you can use a quieter sales period, like the summer season, to focus on effective inventory management and optimising purchasing processes – to not only beat the summer sales dip but also make it, even more, count during the busier months.

Tip 1: Analyse historical data and forecast demand

To overcome the challenges of a sales dip, you must first analyse historical data and accurately forecast demand. By delving into past sales patterns, you can identify trends and anticipate customer behaviour during ‘slow periods’ – such as the summer. Inventory management software can help you in this process, providing valuable insights into the stock turnover rate, the popularity of products, and customer buying habits. By closely monitoring demand patterns and adjusting purchase orders accordingly, you can maintain optimal inventory levels and stock the right products at the right time.

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Tip 2: Optimise inventory management processes

Optimising inventory management processes is essential for an e-commerce business. A quieter sales period can allow you time to optimise current processes or set the foundations for a centralised inventory management system. This allows you to manage all inventory data in one place, enabling easy access and real-time tracking. Your experience as a purchaser can be crucial during low sales periods to identify slow-moving or excess stock that you can sell with a discount or phase-out to free up liquidity. Optimising inventory management processes can empower your e-commerce business to operate efficiently, minimise costs, and maximise profitability.

Wondering which strategic purchasing tasks you should focus on? Find in the white paper 5 things you should spend time on as a purchaser to add more strategic value to your company.

Tip 3: Integrate automation into purchasing processes

Integrating automation into your purchasing processes is another crucial step for your business. With a purchasing system that allows you to automate your replenishment orders, your business can set up alerts and reorder points to ensure you maintain your inventory levels without manual intervention. Automation can save you time and improve your accuracy and efficiency. Especially in periods with low demand, it can be crucial that your operations are efficient and that you, as a purchaser, can focus on strategic elements of your job.

Tip 4: Supplier Management

Building strong relationships with suppliers is essential, as it allows your business to negotiate favourable terms, including better pricing, flexible payment terms, or priority access to inventory. Especially if you know that, for example, your summer season will be a period with fewer sales, you want to ensure you can use the relationship with your suppliers in your favour. Besides that, it is also essential to continually evaluate alternative suppliers and explore new sourcing options to secure competitive prices and fortify your supply chain.

Tip 5: Diversify product offerings

Diversifying product offerings is a strategic approach your e-commerce businesses can use to fill a gap during periods of low demand. By expanding your range of products, you can cater to a broader audience. Introducing seasonal or exclusive products can create a sense of urgency and excitement among customers, encouraging them to purchase during slow periods. Additionally, your sales team can offer your customers complementary or related products that can lead to cross-selling opportunities and increase the average order value. By doing these things, you can capture new customer segments and lower the impact of low demand on your overall sales performance.

Tip 6: Implement marketing and promotional strategies

Ensuring your purchasing and marketing teams collaborate is key. Offering exclusive summer deals, discounts, or limited-time promotions can create a sense of urgency and entice customers to purchase. You can link supply chain data with customer data by ensuring your marketing and purchasing teams can work together. It will allow your business to plan proactive marketing and promotional strategies and successfully boost sales to navigate the summer season.

If you want to flip the summer dip into an ‘optimisation opportunity’ as an e-commerce business you need to have a proactive approach to inventory management and purchasing processes and ensure a joined-up approach with marketing and sales. By analysing historical data and accurately forecasting demand, you can make informed decisions about inventory levels and ensure you have the right products available when your customers need them. Optimise your inventory management processes. Use automated replenishment and reduce excess stock. Work on strong supplier relationships to minimise costs and improve cash flow. Diversifying product offerings enables you to tap into different customer preferences. Finally, implementing effective marketing and promotional strategies helps to stimulate customer interest. By applying these six tips, you can turn a slow summer season into a period of optimisation and progress for your e-commerce business.

Wondering which strategic purchasing tasks you should focus on? Find in the white paper 5 things you should spend time on as a purchaser to add more strategic value to your company.


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