Say Goodbye to Non-Moving Inventory with These Top Strategies
Non-moving inventory is something most online retailers are all too familiar with. But does it have to be?
As we know, non-moving or slow-moving inventory are those products that haven’t sold in six months or more, and can result in a retailer relying on just 20% of their products for 80% of their sales. Depending on the industry niche and inventory urgency.
This is often referred to as the eCommerce Pareto principle cycle, and it’s vital for brand managers to prevent this.
Short answer: profits!
Slow movers don’t just occupy warehouse space. incurring storage costs. They also waste overall revenue and product earning potential. Non-moving inventory costs include:
- Opportunity losses associated with not having the space or budget capacity to bring in more new, faster-moving inventory
- Freight and manufacturing costs
- Carrying costs
- Occurred inventory credit lines and loans
- Per unit product price
- Profit loss associated with huge discounted procure
But here’s the thing: with proper management, inventory optimization, and merchandising, inventory-based businesses can not only prevent this but stop sluggish products in their tracks before they become dead weight.
By constantly managing and balancing your retail and marketing KPIs and following these four key strategies:
- Combining Advanced Merchandising with Inventory Optimization
- Setting Up Systems to Identify Non-Moving Inventory in Real-Time
- Using the Right Tools to Manage Slow or Non-Moving Inventory
- Optimizing Your Marketing Strategies
Let’s look at each in more detail.
Strategy #1: Combine Advanced Merchandising with Inventory Management
The first step in managing non-moving inventory is for eCommerce teams to prevent slow-moving products altogether.
There are several reasons why slow-moving inventory occurs, including:
- Change or ending of seasons
- Start of the new year
- Introduction of new products
- New product trends
- Improper inventory management
- Marketing strategy shortfalls
All of these can be greatly reduced with inventory optimization, which is the combination of advanced merchandising strategies and inventory management based on key marketing and retail KPIs. Good inventory optimization includes the following:
- Inventory level optimization strategies
- Inventory storage optimization strategies
- Demand forecasting optimization strategies
- Advanced merchandising and optimization strategies
They all work together to help your teams preempt slow-moving inventory by ensuring their strategies consider overall marketing goals and key brand retail KPIs. Ultimately, they allow managers to not only predict future buying based on trends and sales, but also effectively move products before having to cut potential profits with big discount sales.
The most effective way to do this is with eCommerce AI tools and technology. Kimonix, for example, is an advanced merchandising tool that considers both retail and marketing KPIs so established online retailers can:
- Fulfill customer preferences intuitively
- Boost conversion rates and product sales
- Optimize inventory and maximize margins
In short: AI is vital in ensuring brands can bridge the gap between product development, sales, purchasing, inventory control teams, and brand management and being able to optimize inventory and lessen or prevent non-moving inventory.
Strategy #2: Setting Up Systems to Identify Non-Moving Inventory in Real-Time
The next strategy in limiting profit loss due to non-moving inventory is being able to identify any slow-moving products as early as possible. This means setting up systems that enable teams to immediately identify any product movement blockages or hiccups so that they can intervene while preventing significant profit loss.
Keeping slow-moving products for too long increases the chance they will become unsuitable for sale (damage) or incur huge profit losses due to desperate promotions. This makes identification vital.
To do this, eCommerce inventory management teams should be tracking results and retail KPIs in real-time and then adjusting merchandising and marketing strategies accordingly. These retail metrics include:
- Current variants stock ratio for each product
- Total amount of a product purchased in a given time compared to forecasted and historical demand
- Inventory value for each product
- Average time product is in stock before shipment
- Total sales (quantity or $) for each product
- Product demand and price competitiveness in the market
- Number of days to finish inventory
- ABC, FSN, and SDE analysis data
These metrics will help online retailers monitor inventory turnover and quickly spot slow-moving products.
Using the right systems and inventory tracking tools ensures brands have instant access to accurate inventory and sales data and allows managers to inventory slow movers and act before they become non-moving stock.
Strategy #3: Using the Right Tools to Manage Slow or Non-Moving Inventory
Now that your tracking systems are in place to identify slow-moving inventory, what next?
Using the right tools to quickly and efficiently eliminate non-moving stock without sacrificing on profit. There are three main strategies that will help brands do just that:
- Running the right promotions at the right time, maximizing profitable margins, and mitigating loss
- Using advanced product sorting to ensure your customers are seeing the right products in your store collections at the right time to meet both retail KPIs and conversion targets
- Using product recommendations engines to increase inventory exposure and therefore sales
This strategy has proved highly successful. An example of this in action is retailer Swarovski (IL). They were able to increase their profits by 8% in just four weeks after reducing non-moving inventory by a whopping 29%.
You can read the study in more detail here: Merchandising Case Study.
Strategy #4: Optimizing Your Marketing Strategies
Finally, eCommerce retailers should be optimizing their overall marketing strategies to help quicken product movement. This means coordinating your inventory optimization, advanced merchandising, and promotions to ensure you:
- Expose the right products to the right customer at the right time at the right price
- Finetune promotional strategies to mitigate profit loss while answering retail KPIs
Ultimately, marketing teams will want to ensure they use advanced product collections, well beyond personalization, to ensure they are customized based on multiple parameters such as sales, inventory, margins, customer preferences, etc.
Additionally, they should be tracking real-time metrics such as engagement stats and inventory analysis to create smart product promotions that efficiently move products without sacrificing profit gains.
Both these strategies can be used for advanced product curation and creating marketing landing pages and email marketing campaigns that are personalized to each customer while making sure inventory goals are met at the same time.
Bottom Line: Prevent, Probe, and Promote
If you want to say goodbye to non-moving inventory and boost your online brand’s profitability, you’re going to need a combination of all of these strategies. This means having strategies in place to:
- Prevent non-moving stock
- Probing metrics to find slow movers early
- Promote the right products (based on marketing and retail KPIs) on and off-site
In short: Inventory management and optimization are vital in moving lower-demand inventory without sacrificing profitability. They should be working with advanced merchandising and marketing strategies to ensure brands are boosting the right products at the right time and limit deadstock.