Uncertain supply chains and shipping times can create a few opportunities for small businesses, and many of these opportunities involve putting real thought into how you can make life easier for your customers.
Many businesses are now using systems where customers are able to pick up merchandise curbside. It’s a best-of-both-worlds situation: the customer gets the reassurance of buying an item they know is in stock while also not having to pay for shipping (growing more expensive due to inflation) or going into a physical store.
On top of that, you’ll want to pay particular attention to inventory levels this holiday season, as holiday forecasts may be less accurate due to international uncertainty. If you’re still avoiding using updated inventory management software, now is the time to get in the game. Using finely-tuned software to make sure you know how much stock you’ve got, what’s selling, and when you need to re-up your supply can help mitigate the uncertainty.
Another strategy is to take advantage of gift cards. Many shoppers use gift cards as their main form of gift-giving, and when times are uncertain, that can be helpful for both consumers and retailers. Offering a discount or promotion on gift cards makes it easier to keep inventory on your shelves while also driving sales and ensuring that you’ll have traffic down the line when shipping is hopefully more predictable.
Finally, you can use your older stock as an opportunity. Maybe you’ve got product from last season, or stock that’s been proven to be less popular. Creating bundles or steep discounts on such products creates a savings opportunity for your customers while also freeing up valuable working capital. It also ensures that you’ve got an eye-catching offer available even if the global supply chain causes delays or price increases on your most popular offers.