In order to maximize the potential for profits, retailers need to optimize their stocking habits. If too much product is on the shelf, it's possible for some materials to go to waste, but with too few, consumers are likely to end up disappointed, ultimately damaging bottom lines. One way stores can ensure their procedures set them up for success is by using inventory management software to track items and shopping tendencies. With these tools, shop owners can determine which of their products are the most popular and which don't sell as quickly, allowing them to properly adjust their orders to reflect consumer needs.
In addition, inventory technology can play a crucial role in reducing the frequency of errors - when employees manually input data for ordering products, there's a greater chance they could mix up numbers or forgot to enter important information. By bringing in advanced automated applications, efficiency and customer satisfaction can increase.
Mixed signals in retail indicators
Retailers must constantly reassess their inventory management techniques because shoppers' spending patterns change often. According to the United States Census Bureau, retail sales fell by 0.4 percent in March from the previous month. This reading was 2.8 percent higher than March 2012, and totals for January 2013 through March were 3.7 percent higher than those for the same period the year prior.
Environmental factors and holiday timing may have played a role in lagging March sales. Easter took place earlier in the year than normal, causing many retailers to lose a day of sales, TIME noted. This could lead to slightly stronger results for April. In addition, cold weather may have kept some consumers home or deterred them from making certain forward-looking purchases.
"Wintry weather conditions persisted deep into March, depressing spring apparel, home and garden and seasonal merchandise sales," Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, told the source.
The International Council of Shopping Centers determined that sales in the U.S. rose by 1.6 percent among chain stores compared to one year earlier. Adjusted to exclude drug stores, this indicator increased by 2.5 percent.
As sales continue to fluctuate, it is important that vendors are able to adjust as necessary to keep their bottom lines strong. Inventory software can be a major factor in staying properly stocked to ensure success.