E-commerce Tools & Best Practices

How to Choose a Budget & Prepare Inventory for the Holidays

By: Michelle McNamara | November 12, 2018

Holiday sales will increase by 15.3 percent this year, according to eMarketer. Since the holiday selling season typically plays a huge part in meeting your year-long company and profit goals, it’s worth the time and investment to make sure you’re well prepared to take advantage of the potential influx of orders.

For starters, you’ll want to make sure you’re already finalizing your projected expenses and preparing your stock and inventory. Here are our tips for how to ready these parts of your business.

Create a Plan for Holiday Business Expenses

Make sure you’re prepared for the increase in orders without losing sight of your bottom line, since the holiday rush often means extra business expenses, as well. Having last year’s budget and expenses on hand during the planning process will help guide you in determining how much you might need this year. You can also make adjustments to your operations and holiday strategy if you know what didn’t work the previous year.

Additional holiday business expenses could include things like:

  • Hiring extra help
  • Ordering more product
  • Outsourcing elements of order fulfillment
  • Purchasing special holiday packaging

The bottom line: realistic projections are the secret to success when it comes to prepping your business budget.

Up Your Inventory

Ordering inventory and upping stock early will give you peace of mind knowing that your product will be delivered and ready to sell when you want. Take last year’s numbers into account and assess what your highest selling items were (as well as what’s been successful this year) to determine how you should stock your inventory.

Bulking up your inventory doesn’t just mean your products. Account for other business materials such as shipping supplies, packaging, and anything else you need to make sure things go off without a hitch during the holidays.

Before you begin ordering items, be sure to go through your existing inventory and update your list. This will ensure you don’t order too much product or order the wrong items.

Manage Your Inventory

Once your orders have arrived, it’s time to organize your inventory. Having an organized, up-to-date inventory will confirm you have an accurate count of what is in stock.

If you are an omni-channel seller, be sure to track your inventory correctly across all channels such as Amazon and eBay. Did you know that omni-channel shoppers spend three times as much as single-channel shoppers? Having an accurate count of your inventory across the board will ensure you can accommodate customers who use more than one channel for shopping.

After you’ve organized your existing inventory and pre-ordered your new items, it’s time to assess your warehouse operations:

  • Is it time to scale up your warehouse?
  • Have you decreased your product offerings and need to scale back?
  • Are there any significant changes you need to make before the holiday season hits?

Answering these questions and making adjustments early will allow things to run smoothly and efficiently during the busiest time of the year.

This advice was featured in our new e-book sharing tips and tricks to navigating the holiday selling season. Download the e-book, “How to Master Your Shipping & Operations in Time for the Holidays.” You can also check out our Holiday Selling & Shipping Central for more holiday tips and advice from our e-commerce experts.

Michelle McNamara

Content Strategist at Shippo

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