4 weeks ago
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Is Dead Inventory Harshing your Mellow? Tips to unload it....fast!
What is the Crafty Retailer to do?
Quit smoking the HOPIUM and get rid of that ball and chain! Sell what you have now so that you can buy what you want later! Let go of any emotional attachment you have to your stock---it will only muddy your focus. Take a cold, hard look at the numbers---they do not lie. If a product is not selling in a reasonable period of time, you need to unload it. Sitting inventory costs you money. Do you have inventory hiding in a stock room, under a table, in a closet? Those are the worst offenders of all because they never even had a chance! It costs approximately 2% per month to maintain inventory on a shelf. No one likes to sell a product for less than it costs, but it sure beats losing all of your investment. Craft trends come and go...your inventory has a shelf life. A little cash now is better than no cash later....get what you can for it and get it out the door.
Determine which inventory items are slow movers by evaluating inventory turns. After all, if you don't measure it, then you cannot manage it, so KNOW YOUR STOCK! A product that has not sold in six months is not stock you want to maintain. Take an hour this week to make a list of surplus stock and make it your mission to get rid of it in the next 30 days. You can do it!
Start thinking outside of the box to come up with promotional events to help you do the dirty work:
Weekly Craft challenge: Charge a small sitting fee and organize a weekly craft challenge. You GIVE AWAY the materials (er...dead stock) and your customers have two hours to make something fabulous. Take photos and blog about the fun. Vote on a monthly winner and give away a small prize. Build community while unloading the yucky stuff. Win-win.
Grab Bag with a twist: Use the excess inventory as the basis for some grab bags. Put a "golden ticket" in a random bag and offer a nice prize for the holder of the ticket.
Treasure Chest: Put the untouchables in a treasure box by the register. Allow customers to pick a free item for every $10 they spend.
Gumball Machine: Patty Strong of Mountain Beadworks knows that Beads fit very nicely into gumball machines. Who can resist a handful of beads for a quarter?
Scratch off Tickets add excitement to the sale: Give a scratch off ticket to customers who buy select [aka "LOSER"] product. You can make your own customized scratch off tickets to add to the fun. Check out the awesome tutorial from Artmind.
Get your employees focused on the task, too. Offer incentives to get employees focused on liquidating the slow movers. Make it a game...check out the sample "Employee Bingo" game...simply modify the squares to reflect your goals.
Discount it. Sales and markdowns are always a viable option, but remember that today's consumer is bombarded with sale messages. You need to discount with creativity and humor to get noticed. Consider putting the duds on a table and selling it in an unusual manner. Fat quarters by the pound, beads by the handful, etc.
It will take some time and some attention, but unloading excess inventory is like spring cleaning with a cash bonus! Do it now, do it aggressively. You will feel better!
Last week I blogged about bumps in the road and shortly thereafter I hit a pretty big bump. Rosie, my three year old dog, was diagnosed with a very aggressive, high grade cancer. The vet oncologist feared that the cancer had spread and was talking about a 2 to 6 month life expectancy. Rosie is a funny looking little mixed breed dog whose parts never fit well together. Nonetheless, I see her with my heart instead of my eyes and she is perfect. We have been on pins and needles waiting to get the results of her latest lab work. Yesterday I learned that the disease was confined to her leg. She will be a three legged dog, but she will survive. The sun is shining, the birds are singing! Life is good....
....and I want to celebrate! I will draw a name from those who comment on the blog during the month of March. The winner will receive a package of fiber and crystal goodies with a wholesale value of $100. Start talking!
Posted by Pat Riesenburger at 12:25 PM