With the Christmas holidays only just over, e-merchants are already thinking about doing the stocktaking and preparing for the January sales. This period is an opportunity to draw lessons from the past year and more particularly, the Christmas period. What products sold best? Is my site fast enough at peak demand periods? Which keywords generate the most traffic in my store? In this week’s report you will find 6 pieces of advice for starting 2012 on the right foot.
Check your stock
By incorporating this essential stage, in order to obtain both a quantitative and qualitative overview of your stock, you can identify items to mark down, calculate the corresponding rates of markdowns and start to prepare your site’s layout for the January sales. Failing to include this stage could result in your sales performance being seriously affected. Given that the January sales represent 10 – 20% of turnover for most e-merchants, it is definitely worth doing!
Ideally, stocktaking should be carried out when your business is not operating
Ideally, stocktaking should be carried out when your business is not operating, since the volume of stock must not change during this time. Many stores therefore do stocktaking at night. Choose a day when orders are extremely low (after Christmas, at the beginning of January). Of course, these dates may vary depending on your type of business.
Highlight your top selling products
When doing stocktaking, identify your most successful items from the past year. Sometimes, stocktaking throws up a few surprises: Some products that you thought would do well remain unsold whilst others come up trumps. You can then adjust your offer to suit customer demand and therefore maximize your sales for next year.
SEO and hosting
The New Year is an opportunity to take stock of SEO and identify those keywords that created the most traffic on your site during the Christmas period. The aim: to continue to optimize your store’s referencing. It is also a good time to review hosting. Would you have been able to achieve a higher turnover over the Christmas period with a faster site? If the answer is yes, change your hoster or contact him to see what can be done.
You should also analyse your suppliers’ performance. Did they deliver within the expected time limits during the Christmas rush period and, more generally, throughout the year? If not, perhaps it’s time to find a supplier you can count on for the following year.
A winning strategy for reducing your stock at the end of the year
In order to reduce their stock to the maximum at the end of the year, a lot of e-merchants use the following strategy. They stop acquiring stock at the beginning of December. The aim: to sell the stock and at the end of the year end up with low stock and more funds. However, this strategy has one drawback: if the e-merchant re-orders items during December he will certainly sell more. On the other hand, he will have a larger amount of stock remaining at the end of the year and the balance sheet won’t look as good.
January is a time to allow e-merchants to learn lessons from the past year and change things that haven’t worked well. Stocktaking allows you to identify your bestsellers as well as products to put in the sale. You identify keywords that created traffic in order to optimize your referencing. You also assess your hosting. Did it make the grade during the Christmas period? Ask yourself the same question about your suppliers. Act on this advice now and make 2012 a successful year for your business.