Imagine you are selling boots and when it gets cold, the boots demand is naturally skyrocketing. This is for sure but if you are a store manager you`d like to have simple answer of a simple question:
How to make proper demand planning that actually works for seasonal businesses and products?
A lot of entrepreneurs and managers have to ask this question too, especially if they are on the market with seasonal products or services. Not matter if you are selling ski & snowboard equipment, ice cream, Christmas trees or air conditioners, seasonal products demand planning might be a tricky game.
The core question is how to order just the right amount of stock that will cover the increased seasonal demand without finishing the rush period with unsold inventory while you don’t allow missed sales opportunities.
Proper demand means great sales forecasting
It is true that no one knows a business better than its operational manager. But there is something which can bring some accuracy.
Historical data of any business is often an unexplored treasure hiding lots of jewels formed as insights, new trends, product correlations, accurate sales forecasting, etc. Powered by data analytics you can easily discover more than just close past sales data examination.
Digging deep enough in sales data brings answers
This way you`ll be aware of the triggers of increased customer traffic and its impact on sales. It might be a trend, weather change, bank holiday, public event or else. Knowing this will make your demand planning more accurate and your business will be more effective.
But wait a minute – it is not just stock and sales. The main focus for seasonal businesses and product groups is the staff. Increased seasonal demand need more workforce to cover customers’ needs. A retail study made by Pennsylvania University shows that 33% of customers who leave a store empty handed did so because they couldn’t find a sales person.
This way it is crucial to enable enough workforce in order to face increased traffic. Lack of staff when a business needs it means disappointed customers, overplanning is equal to money burnt in the fireplace. Such guessing might be doable for experienced managers but even they sometimes miss a thing, and we are not counting the big-dollar hours spent on this time-consuming task.