Balancing supply and demand is a continuous and ongoing project. When mis-managed, retailers can miss out on sales and profits, as well as disappointing customers. For this reason, coordinating online merchandising with inventory is vital when running any successful retail business.
Numerous factors must be taken into account, including changes in consumer behaviour, competitors’ offerings, weather, new channels, alternatives and trends.
Here are three online merchandising hacks which any retailer can benefit from:
1. Demonstrate Variants
Stock can be optimised by varying promoted stock and making the most of high-traffic slots online.
Use stock levels or artificial intelligence to change featured images or promotions. Through this, you can control the products which are most likely to sell out faster. An example of this would be to remove a shirt from the home page which has sold out in most sizes, replacing it with another item which has not been selling as well.
Placement of product advertisements can be varied automatically when systems note that a particular product is running low on stock, or even regularly, regardless of stock levels. If a site has not been optimised for this to take place, it can be more time-consuming when reorganised manually.
Switch which products are most visible on home pages or promotional pages to make sure the most desirable conversions are made more likely.
2. Promote High Margin Items
Give additional exposure to high margin items which aren’t receiving as much visibility as you would hope.
Retailers often make the mistake of only showing best-selling products on home pages. Placing long-tail products in prime positions will help to drive profit and expose items which may otherwise be more hidden on the site.
3. Make the Most of Out-Of-Stock Items
It’s frustrating enough when the item you want is out of stock, so make it as enjoyable as possible for your customers.
Recommend similar items which may be of interest and allow shoppers to back-order the product, or receive an email when it is back in stock.
By keeping items visible which are out-of-stock, you are able to measure the demand for each product; something which can be incredibly valuable when ordering more stock.
Image credit: John Schnobrich
Holly brings a wealth of experience in both print and digital publishing. As Modern Retail’s Content Editor, Holly is passionate about helping independent retailers to thrive in today’s ever-changing market.