In the perfect retail world, a buyer would purchase the right amount of product without ever going way over in inventory. Even with careful calculations and planning, you may still find yourself with excess inventory. Now is not the time to be sitting on old merchandise with the holiday season just around the corner. Here are some tips on moving the “old stuff” which could help free up buying dollars making way for new merchandise:
1.) Markdown that merchandise ~ Now more than ever you need to scrutinize your assortment and weed out inventory that will not be going forward next year. Sometimes it’s easier to not rock the boat and keep your inventory at regular price, but when you break that habit you will simplify your business and your store will profit. By doing this it can free up money that can be better spent on new and fresh merchandise for your customers. A suggestion would be to plan for space towards the back of your store for this type of specially marked merchandise. However, move your closeouts to the front of the store the day after Christmas. This is the time of year where customers are specifically shopping for closeout deals.
2.) Gift with purchase or reward program ~ Offering a gift with purchase program in your store is a great way to move merchandise. When a customer spends a certain amount in your store, offer a select bin or table full of goodies where customers can choose an item once they have reached that spending limit. Another great program is a customer loyalty rewards program. Thank your best customers with gift bag of goodies (possibly including an item or two from your excess inventory) along with a gift certificate good towards their next purchase. They’ll be appreciative of your good gesture and will be excited to return to your shop with their gift certificate in hand.
3.) Host an In-Store Event ~ Events are great ways to market your store while having a lot of fun! Conduct giveaways during your event with the winning prizes being your “older” or excess inventory. Set up a table or bin where the winning customer can select their prize. Maybe even create a gift basket filled with your goodies for one grand prize drawing. Either way you are promoting your store while moving merchandise. It's a win-win!
4.) Offer a special promotion ~ Another great way to move excess inventory is by offering special promotions vs. doing a drastic markdown. Try promoting items at "Buy One Get One Free". You will move inventory quickly while not losing money at the same time.