Inventory reduction strategies for slow-moving stock
One of the worst nightmares of any online seller, excess and slow-moving stock can prove to be a huge headache. Not only does this mean valuable space in your warehouse is unavailable, but it can mess up your cash flow, and attempting to sell it can divert your attention away from other vital areas of the business.
Usually, this tends to happen at the beginning of the year after the Christmas period, usually January-February, or could even happen during summer, when people choose to spend their money on holidays rather than buying new products. So, what are the best strategies for inventory reduction and fixing this problem?
It’s just as simple as it sounds – bundle your slow-moving products with your fast-moving products. By doing this you’re basically capitalizing on the popularity of your best-selling products.
But how does it work exactly? Well, online shoppers looking to purchase your top-selling items will view a product bundle as an attractive bargain and might be more inclined to buy as they’d be getting additional products to what they initially set out to find.
In other words, all you have to do is a add a small note next to the fast-moving products saying something like “Save 50% when you buy together with this product” (obviously, you would add your slow-moving product(s) there). You can even send out emails to your customers, letting them know that you have some special offers, just as previously mentioned – Get up to 33% off when buying product X bundled with product Y. The posibilities are endless, really.
People really seem to be attracted to bargains, especially when they’re bundled with sought-after products. I know I’ve bought a lot of products this way, only because they were bundled and discounted if purchased together with the product I was actually looking for…
Have a big sale!
This is probably the most obvious way to get rid of slow-moving stock. Just have a good old fashioned sale.
For example, if you have large quantities of old stock that hasn’t sold in the last 6 months, a clearance sale could be a good option. Slash your prices and shout about your clearance sale on your website, socials and send out a personalised email. Use the data you have on your customers to tailor your communication to them e.g. previous orders, name, sizes etc.
Another great way of doing a sale is to do a website-wide sale. By this I mean that you should have all of your products on sale, but only give 5-10% off on your most wanted products, while giving 30-40-50% off on your slow-moving products. Customers will be magically attracted towards the products that aren’t selling well. Why? Because 50% off always sounds better than 5% off. And customers that only buy your most-wanted products will also get a small discount, so everyone is happy, including you, because you’re moving a lot of stock!
The end of a season is often a time when online sellers find themselves with excess stock that didn’t sell. Before you focus all your marketing on your new season stock, make sure to have an end of season sale to minimise the amount of leftover inventory. Also, a seasonal offer or discount code could also help convert slow-moving products.
Cross-selling and up-selling is also a great way to get rid of those unwanted items. Try to find products that complement each-other well, or products that are similar to each-other.
Let’s say you sell trainers, shoes, etc, but nobody buys your cans of shoe spray. Just add a quick pop-up at checkout, saying “want to add a shoe spray can for 2 pounds?”. Or simply have these displayed on the product page of your shoes. Again, the posibilities are endless, but keep in mind that these cross-selling products have to either be very similar, or they have to complement each-other.
Maybe sometimes it’s a good idea to just analyze the entire situation and see why exactly your slow-moving products aren’t selling. Maybe the marketing strategy was bad? Maybe the price is too high? Or maybe the images for that product aren’t too great? Nonetheless, once you think you know why the product isn’t selling well, try to address the situation. Take better photos, write a better description, lower the price a bit so it matches your competitors, etc.
Another important aspect to keep in mind is the title of the product. Is it search-friendly? Is it easy to find by customers? Does your product title and description advertise your product as best it could?
You could even consider creating a new landing page dedicated to a certain product range that you could promote across paid ads and social media.
Try working with influencers
Influencers? Yep, they are all the rage now… every product seems to be promoted by one or more influencers nowadays. But how does it work?
Depending on your product and industry, working with the right influencers can really reignite interest in your slow-moving stock. Send excess stock to key people in your space who have the voice and the followers to reach your target market. In return, ask for a review or a post on your product.
Endorsement and advertising from an influencer can be all it takes to send an influx of traffic to your product page and see a surge in sales.
If everything else fails…
…and you simply cannot sell any of your slow-moving products, even though you’ve tried everything… how about liquidating them? In other words, sell them for cheap. Even if you sell them for no profit or even at a small loss, you’ll be saving yourself time, money and valuable storage space in the process.
It is important to keep in mind that warehousing costs are a type of inventory carrying cost that you should actively be seeking to reduce for greater profitability. As such, even if this means your profits might take a small hit, you should probably get rid of your slow-moving stock ASAP. Trust me, on the long run it’s much better and profitable. But if your products sit in your warehouse for years, taking up valuable space, that’s bad.