Day 85 of #100daysmarketingcreatives - Plan Stock Cleverly - plan ahead by looking back and predicting accurately
One of the hardest things about being an independent creative business is that you cannot be in two places at once or should I say cannot do 2 things simultaneously. When you are creating and making you cannot be selling and when you are selling you cannot be creating and making. Yes throughout most of the rest of the year a lot of juggling will go on so that you appear to be doing this when in fact you are switching between the two regularly.
At Christmas time, however, when you make possibly 80% of your annual sales in the last quarter alone you are going to be so busy selling that it leaves little time to create and make. It is therefore crucial that you plan ahead, not just with plenty of stock but with plenty of the right stock. As I write this mid November maybe its too late for a lot of creating and making, you probably should have done this back in August when it was quieter (remember Day 65 - Christmas begins in August) but even now there might still be time to order more Christmas cards, best selling giclee prints or other products that someone else produces for you and can turn around quickly for you.
You have a good 'feel' for how it went last year but how accurate is that? Are you confident that the passing of time has not changed your interpretation of these events in any way? If you have an online web shop why not print some statistics off. Look at your orders for the last quarter last year, what were the popular lines, could you meet demand, do you need to order more this year, do you have new trade customers to satisfy, more or less shows etc? What about new products that haven't been able to prove themselves yet? Have a look at Instagram and Facebook insights. Which product posts got the most interest? Could that translate into sales given sufficient stock and appropriate placement? Identify your best selling lines intelligently using order downloads from your website, Etsy shop, show sales, social media insights etc and then make or order sufficient quantities of these in advance for this year's holiday season.
Don't worry about ordering or making too many, they are best selling lines after all so even if you do not sell them all over Christmas you are not going to be stuck with them for long because they are fast moving lines (with the exception of Christmas themed products, however, that you may have to keep until next year, oh and order those calendars conservatively too - they go out of date apparently!).
I will be writing later about 'last minute sales opportunities'. This is the period very close to Christmas when its too late to turn around many of your made to order items. If you stock up well for that period with fast moving lines you can get these out of the door the same day as the order or next day if you advertise them well at that point (your 2nd Christmas newsletter which I will talk about soon!) rather than lose that opportunity because you cannot make product in time.
How is your Christmas stock planning coming along?
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