Key points:

  • It is essential to research the popularity of seasonal products before placing a large purchase order
  • Every business should use a system that tracks inventory for them, so they can spend more time fulfilling each order
  • Easyship can take care of your shipping needs for you while you grow your business and get to know your target market

For retailers, the holiday season means lots of stock orders and plenty of shipping. It's very easy to over prepare for the holiday season and order more stock than ever before, but this can lead to being left with a bunch of dead stock.

Seasonal demands in particular can be overwhelming, and inventory levels are likely to change more often than usual. The bottom line is that during the holidays, one of the most important things to do is ensure you keep an eye on quality control, stock levels, and manage inventory well, so your customers will stay happy over the holiday period.

In this article, we'll discuss how to better prepare your seasonal inventory management over the holiday period and avoid being left with dead stock that you can't shift.

Table of Contents

What is Dead stock?

In short, dead stock is stock that hasn't sold. It can be hard to get rid of and is often sold at a much lower price than usual in order to get rid of it in a clearance sale. If it can't be sold then it is usually returned to the supplier (if the supplier agrees), offered as a gift to customers who make other purchases, or donated.

How Can Dead Stock Be Prevented?

We understand that in the lead-up to the holiday period, most businesses want to get ahead of the game and order as much stock as possible. Keeping hold of a lot of inventory can prepare you for large orders, and ensure that you don't run out of items and disappoint your customers.

However, ordering too much stock from your supplier can mean that you've over-prepared and may end up being left with dead stock.

To help, here are some inventory planning best practices to help you avoid being left with dead stock.

4 Ways to Avoid Dead Stock

Finding out what items are the most popular is key to ensuring that you know what to order the most of. Spend some time researching the most sold items to get an idea of where to invest the majority of money. If you sell on an online marketplace, have a browse through competitor pages to see what they've been selling the most of. Alternatively, most platforms have a section where you can see what is the most popular overall, a good example is Etsy.

If you dig around enough, you may be able to find out the specifics of how many items are being sold, so that you know how many to order. Once you know the demand, you can ensure you order the right amount and don't over-order. Over-ordering may seem like a safe bet, but this can take up valuable warehouse space and leave you with the stock for a long time.

2. Get to Know Your Target Market

Taking the time to do your market research and getting to know the likes/dislikes of your target market is essential to plan out what they are going to be looking for when making a purchase over the holidays. Once you have a good understanding of your target market, you can predict what items will be popular and sell the most. Not only will this help you when it comes to placing orders from suppliers, but it will also help you when creating campaigns in order to increase your sales.

Person Tracking Their Dead Stock Levels On A Laptop And Smartphone

3. Check Sales From the Previous Year

The best way to plan out how many sales you are going to make, and how much stock you will sell/be left with, is to look at previous years. Keep a record of sales from the previous year, and break it down for each season. Then you can go back and look at how much excess stock you've been left with after each time period and find out the life cycle of each item.

There are some great inventory management software programs out there to help you keep track of your stock. Using a system to manage this for you will reduce the risk of human error and ensure that your stock levels are always accurate. By checking what sold the most in previous years, you can also better plan your warehouse management as well as manage your supply chain.

Related post: 5 Inventory Management Best Practices for Small Businesses

As every eCommerce seller knows, trends come and go. Something that was highly popular two weeks ago, may not be as trendy next week. Trends are coming and going fast, so stay in the know and keep as up-to-date with trends as possible, so you know what's going to be popular.

If you plan ahead and know what will be trending soon, then make sure that you stock up on that particular item, so your customers will see you as the go-to for trending items in your niche. Of course, remember to check the above point to ensure you don't over-order and get left with dead stock.

By following these 4 tips, you can avoid being left with dead stock over the holiday period and have a better understanding of your customer base.

Why Is It Important to Get Rid of Dead Stock?

Dead inventory can be a hassle. Often, as time goes on and trends change, it gets harder to get rid of any dead stock. Therefore, it is important to look into selling dead stock as quick as possible, so you're not lumbered with it for months or even years to come.

Tip: In order to avoid excess returns over the holiday, make sure that your product specifications are as accurate as possible, and that you have a clear returns policy in place.

Ready to start shipping? Sign up for a free Easyship account today and let us handle your shipping needs so you can spend more time managing your stock and improving customer satisfaction this peak season