Out with the old: How can retailers optimise new season stock?

Dean Frew
30 October, 23

The summer months have already arrived, and consumers have started to flock to stores to purchase their summer essentials. According to YouGov, ‘summer holidays’ ranked in the top four seasonal events for increased consumer shopping last year. To make the most of this influx of shoppers, it is essential that retailers leverage technology to its full potential to increase sales and improve profitability. 

In order to drive long-term success, retailers need to attract and retain customers in this increasingly competitive retail environment. However, consumers are not easy to win over in today’s retail world. Not only do they expect retailers to sell high-quality products at affordable prices, but they also look for seamless shopping experiences, and a variety of sales channels to choose from. Retailers who fail to deliver this can negatively impact the customer experience and ultimately lose market share to competitors who are more customer-focused.

One key aspect of delivering the experience that customers crave is accurate inventory management. According to SML’s State of Retail Insight Report 2023 Part 2, 29% of retailers claim that poor visibility of inventory available to customers is one of the major challenges to providing a seamless customer experience. To thrive in today’s retail environment, and to make the most of the increased appetite of shoppers, retailers must remain appealing to them — maintaining high levels of inventory accuracy and providing multiple fulfilment options that deliver a high-quality customer experience.  Without accurately stated inventory levels it is extremely challenging to provide an effective omnichannel or in-store experience for customers.

Harnessing Data-Driven Solutions

Leveraging the right data has become essential for retailers in today’s market. By utilising advanced analytics, retailers can tap into the power of data to understand historical sales, market trends, and customer behaviour patterns. This analysis allows them to effectively forecast which products will be in high demand for the upcoming season.

With accurate information related to ongoing trends, customer behaviour and preferences, retailers can effectively estimate and plan their inventory levels for summer. They can also use previous data sets related to summer sales to make more strategic decisions.

What’s more, having access to valuable data in real-time, retailers can strategically plan their inventory and ensure they have the right products available at the right time, maximising sales potential. Additionally, data-driven solutions can also help retailers avoid stocking items that haven’t performed well in the past, reducing the risk of overstocking and minimising potential losses. By harnessing the power of data, retailers can optimise their operations, enhance decision-making, and ultimately drive business growth and profitability.

Informed Choices, Higher Profits: The Role of RFID in Smart Decision-Making

Item-level RFID has become a game-changer for retailers. By deploying the technology across the supply chain and in-store, retailers can scan hundreds of items in a matter of seconds, revolutionising inventory management by providing near real-time stock visibility. This enables retailers to closely track inventory levels throughout the supply chain, from the warehouse to the shop floor.

The ability to monitor inventory in real-time brings multiple benefits. It allows for timely replenishment, ensuring that products are always available for customers. By avoiding out-of-stocks, retailers can also prevent the loss of potential sales and disappointed customers. With summer clothing, swimwear and accessories in high demand over the next few months, retailers cannot afford to run out of stock, and RFID provides retailers with a complete view of stock levels across all locations to capitalise on seasonal merchandise sales.

Furthermore, with accurate and up-to-date inventory data, retailers can optimise their supply chain operations and minimise excess inventory. This reduction in excess inventory not only frees up valuable storage space but also helps retailers improve profitability by reducing the costs associated with holding excess stock.

Efficient stock management through RFID technology can enable retailers to drive higher profits in two ways. Firstly, by reducing excess inventory, they can minimise markdowns and clearance sales which helps preserve profit margins. Secondly, by avoiding out-of-stock situations, retailers can capitalise on customer demand and boost sales opportunities. This data-driven approach enables retail businesses to make smarter decisions regarding product assortment, pricing, and marketing strategies, ultimately leading to increased customer satisfaction and higher profits.

Leveraging Inventory Solutions Beyond Warehouse 

In the dynamic world of retail, accurate information on in-store inventory is just as crucial as tracking warehouse stock. In fact, 93% of retailers claim that using technology helps create a seamless in-store experience.

By implementing real-time inventory tracking in-store, retailers can access accurate and up-to-date information about the availability of products on the shelves. This data allows them to identify fast-selling items and understand which products are not performing well. This can enable retailers to mindfully plan their inventory and make the right decisions about restocking, pricing, and promotional strategies, ensuring that their inventory aligns with customer demand. Consequently, this can lead to higher sales, reduced inventory holding costs, and improved operational performance.

Moreover, by closely monitoring inventory levels in each store, retailers can streamline their distribution processes. By stocking popular and high-demand items in busy stores, they can drive sales and also cater to local customers’ preferences and buying behaviours.

To thrive and make the most of the ongoing summer shopping peak, retailers must lean on RFID technology and deploy the latest inventory solutions beyond warehouses. By keeping track of inventory at every stage throughout the supply chain, retailers can better serve customers during busy periods and improve seasonal sales.

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