Managing excess inventory the easy way
Over stock, surplus stock, excess stock. Whatever you call it, it’s a problem.
Holding stock which is not selling, and is not expected to sell in the near future, can create larger problems for your business as a whole.
Finding the right balance between having enough and having too much can be tricky, especially during busy periods, such as Christmas. So, what can be done about your excess stock problem right now, and how can you keep your supply and demand in sync in the future? Here are our expert insights, read on to find out more.
Managing excess inventory the easy way
To understand the problem better, lets look at the reasons you might be carrying too much stock.
There are lots of reasons why a store might be carrying too much stock, whether intentionally or not. Overstocking has a knock on effect that can cause larger issues within the business and ultimately, all of these issues impact the most important thing: your profit.
Excess stock problems
Simply put, holding excess stock costs you money. So, what can be done about it? Let’s look at some ways you can manage your inventory, and turn your excess stock into profit.
Perform an inventory analysis
Step one is to perform an inventory analysis. There are a few ways you can do this, here are three methods that are popular with retailers:
Sort your stock into 3 categories:
A. Highest value inventory
B. Regular selling, but lower value inventory
C. Slow moving and low value inventory
2. VED analysis
Again, sort your stock into 3 categories, with slightly different priorities this time:
V. Vital Inventory
E. Essential Inventory
D. Desirable Inventory
Once you have categorised your inventory using one of these methods, you can adapt your purchasing processes for each category accordingly. For example, ‘A’ or ‘D’ rated items may have a specific purchasing procedure, whereas other types might benefit from an automated ordering system to save time.
3. Alternatively, you could carry out regular stock checks and use common KPI’s to check your inventory health, for example:
How often stock items are sold and replenished.
Average resale days
How long it takes from purchase to resale
Stock to sales ratios
How much stock you have purchased vs how much you have sold
How much stock you currently hold vs how much you have sold
GMROI (Gross Margin Return on Investment)
Analyses and calculates the profitability of your inventory purchases.
Measures the overhead costs of storing, maintaining, and insuring your inventory.
You can use your EPOS system’s inventory features to carry out stock checks, and reporting/analysis functions to monitor KPI’s.
Once your inventory is tidied up, use your POS to manage and monitor your stock going forward, and set up automated ordering for your low value, fast moving items.
Next, you’ll need to move out the excess stock items that you have identified.
Now is the time to get creative, and find ways to sell on your excess stock as quickly as possible, making way for new lines or more profitable products. Here are a few suggestions:
Most people enjoy a bargain. Discount your excess stock in a ‘specials’ section. If you have a lot to move, aim to limit how much you put out at one time, or keep it in relevant sections. You want your customers making snappy decisions; glance and grab.
Take your slow moving items and match them up with more popular products. Selling products as pairs or hampers at a discounted rate can be tempting for shippers at any time of the year, and may help reduce your losses.
2 for 1
Where discounting or bundles fail, give the items away with a purchase. This may encourage a additional purchase, and make space in your stock room.
Repurpose your excess stock as gifts or incentives for your customers, to give your customer a positive experience and build loyalty to your store.
It may be that your products simply didn’t reach their target. It could be possible to remarket them to a wider audience. Update the product labels and add new information. Use point of sale material to highlight them, as visuals can be powerful. Advertise in new places, perhaps locally, online or through social media channels. Could your items have other uses? Showcase products as part of a wider picture, for example, if you have food products to move on, market them as an ingredient and share a tempting recipe to your website and social media channels.
For more expensive items, offer an interest free payment plan. This could persuade a hesitant purchasers or attract a new customer.
If you haven’t already considered selling online, you could be missing out on a larger audience. An flexible omnichannel approach to selling can move products quickly and easily. If a website isn’t for you, third party sites like Amazon, eBay, or Shopify could be options. You can also sell through your social media business pages.
Give your extra stock items away to a worthy case. Team up with charities who can reuse food, or donate your products as gifts to be used in raffles or competitions. This move your stock on, and give your reputation a boost in the community.
There are lots of waste apps available, so when you are out of options or up against sell by dates, use these instead of paying for disposal. Here are a few examples:
Your unsold inventory is costing you money. We hope our tips have helped you to get a handle on your excess stock issue! Manage your excess inventory the easy way.
Who are we?
Retail Solutions is a market-leading EPOS provider with over 25 years of business experience. Our leading sectors are convenience stores, supermarkets, forecourts, pharmacies, off licences, and coffee shops.
We are dedicated to providing your store with the most up to date and reliable point of sale hardware, along with software management tools to help you manage your business effectively.
Our self-checkout partners are NCR, who are global leaders in self-checkout technology.
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About the author:
Susan McGuire is originally from London, United Kingdom, and has now lived in Galway, Ireland, for 15 years. She has been with Retail Solutions for almost 7 of those, and during that time has enjoyed various roles within the areas of Maintenance, Finance, & Marketing. You can follow her on LinkedIn!