By Elie Y. Katz
National Retail Solutions
To thrive as a payments professional, it's essential to understand the needs of the merchants you serve. One critical retailer need is to be able to identify and utilize seasonal sales trends. In this article I will highlight the importance of proper planning based on seasonal fluctuations to maximize sales and profit.
A key task in this endeavor is to identify what is selling best, and when. Some products are seasonal or holiday-based. We generally assume, for example, that chocolate and candy are popular around Valentine’s Day; warm drinks are more popular in the winter months; ice cream is likely to sell out more quickly in the summertime.
To validate these commonsense assumptions and discover less obvious trends, encourage store owners to utilize their full-featured POS systems to track inventory and identify sales trends and employ features that will enable them to identify consumer product and payment preferences.
Utilizing the latest digital technologies, retailers can make informed decisions and invest in the right products at the right times rather than invest in inventory that won't sell well. State-of-the-art technologies will also help merchants place orders in a timely manner rather than at the last minute, which will help ensure the arrival of goods when they are in demand.
According to the Supply Chain Planning Blog, https://bit.ly/3RVc5Wn, Gallup recently reported 60 percent of consumers were unable to get a product due to shortages, and Accenture reported 75 percent of companies felt negative business impact due to supply chain disruption. These numbers indicate an overall frustrating truth: it is difficult for businesses to get what they need, which means planning ahead is more necessary than ever.
In instances where shipments are delayed, or sometimes don’t show up at all, stores are forced to keep their shelves empty. According to interviews done by CNN, https://cnn.it/3RUU5vu, the pandemic, weather and lack of truckers have all contributed to supply chain disruptions. This highlights the importance of knowing what retailers need and acting quickly to ensure smooth operations.
It goes without saying that retailers should not be receiving expired products from wholesalers. As a service provider, you can remind them it's important to check each product received from wholesalers before selling them to ensure that supply chain challenges on their end haven't caused them to substitute products that might be closer to their expiration date than usual.
Also, if you serve retailers in the same niche who are having success with a new type of product, consider telling them about the product so they can see if their wholesaler carries it. Having a fresh and updated inventory can be a good way to increase foot traffic and online sales, which brings in more revenue.
Also, new items sell better if retailers spread the word about them. This requires marketing, which can take various forms. Suggest that retailers ask their wholesalers for photos and product descriptions they can use in email blasts, social media posts and other forms of marketing, as well as for updating their websites. Depending on their POS system features, they might be able to add promotions to their transaction receipts, as well.
The most effective merchant services providers are those who act in an advisory capacity. Knowing seasonal sales trends for your merchant niche and helping them plan ahead for any supply chain disruptions can be a tremendous help to them. Why? Because these trends are important for maximizing profit and making customers happy, and planning ahead can help your retailers avoid inconvenience, and even hardship.
Delays are happening around the country, which means being prepared for the worst. Do not let your merchants wait until the last minute to order or ship products. And remember, advising your customers on what to sell can benefit you and them.
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