Department store orders and mall retail sales may be going the way of the dodo, but you certainly don’t have to.
“As nationwide lockdowns gathered momentum around the world from March onwards, our partners saw inventory of their bestselling products sold out by late May. Although this was very positive, it hindered the customer experience by interrupting the propensity to identify with the brand through their stand out products.”
Nikhil Gokal; DRVE’s Business Development and Investment Expert
So, the bestsellers are selling out and rest is moving like molasses. Perhaps you’ve already asked yourself, how can I make my brand a new habit? By now, we’re all aware consumer sentiments and behavior have shifted, not to mention the looming economic uncertainty that could impact demand in the medium term, but how can you tell what customers really want and how can you maintain accurate forecasts? Now is a great time to revisit your brand’s utility and value and we can help. We’ve compiled a list of 3 touchstones we deem essential for the successful entrepreneurship:
Online Data & AI
Okay, you caught us, this is two in one, but there is no doubt that online data and machine learning technology are the entrepreneurs’ new best friend.
Data – The reason it has extra high importance now is that many regular business patterns have changed. In some cases, the change shifts to a degree that it is difficult to follow and plan for, even based on what happened a few weeks ago. Therefore, analyzing your data is the best way to shape your business strategy for success.
AI – Most information around the web has been put in front of you in part because of machine-learning algorithms. Google, Amazon, and all major social media networks use AI systems to decide what you, an internet user, will and will not see. In most cases, machine learning is used to carry out relatively simple tasks from showing a customer the product they’re most likely to buy; to ranking your category pages; to categorizing customer support requests; to estimating the tendency to buy.
Hone in on what your customers want by learning to efficiently use these fundamental tools in conjunction. In practice, leaving you more resources to tailor your brand’s customer experience and of course, give them more of what they really want.
Analyze Your Par Levels – Set par levels for each of your products. Par levels are the minimum amount of product that must be on hand at all times. When your inventory dips below these predetermined levels, it’s time to order more. Setting par levels does require some research, but these crucial decisions will systemize the ordering process and can minimize “cash flow” loss.
Prioritize with ABC – Use an ABC report to grade the value of your stock based on a percentage of your revenue. A stock represents your most profitable and valuable products. You’ll want to make sure you always have these products on hand so you don’t miss out on future sales. Your C stock is your slow-moving or dead stock. This is stock you want to sell at a discount, so you can get it off your shelves and free up cash from your inventory.
Keeping that economic uncertainty in mind, product line reviews should become commonplace. Streamline your brand so that it is better able to focus on and enhance your A stocks’ value. It’s important to remember C stock may continue to struggle if economies and consumer disposable income face ongoing hardship.
Last but not least, is a good repertoire of contingency plans. Any number of issues could pop up unexpectedly and could cripple an unprepared business.
Stop doing anything that doesn’t impact the bottom line. You may find that you’ll produce some of your best work by just investing in your team. Jules Miller, founder and CEO of The Nue Co; a vitamin and supplement company based in the USA, suddenly found that they were unable to get product packaging from Italy because of the coronavirus crisis. Problems can spur innovation and as a result, her team decided to start a refill program. The Nue Co packaging, services, and shipping have become more sustainable as a result. It’s not a matter of if problems arise, but when. Figure out where your risks are and begin to prepare. How will you react? What steps will you take to solve the problem? How will this impact other parts of your business?
Think creatively! You can keep sales and customer attention even when stock is sold out, by implementing pre-orders, waiting lists, or by driving newsletter subscriptions offering product arrival alerts. Remember, challenges stimulate growth, they force you to be really creative and essentially efficient and these obstacles can lead to wholly new successes.
“As any founder, you want to be doing the work, you need to be breaking the boundaries, but you also want to be really sensitive and you don’t want to offend anyone so I think it’s a uniquely difficult but absolutely necessary time for any brand.”