How to Manage Inventory As an Independent Retailer

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on July 24, 2023

Inventory management is an area of business often overlooked by new business owners. Managing stock for existing lines, as well as predicting demand for new ones, can be difficult in a world where costs are high and supply chains complex. This is especially the case for any retailer that deals with jewelry.

While managing your inventory can feel complex, there is a range of processes that can be taken to make it simpler. From managing your stock levels through modern tools to enhancing your supply chain by utilizing experts who specialize in wholesale jewelry in Australia, managing your inventory effectively can improve the purchase experience for both you and your customers.

The Importance of Prioritising Your Inventory

While sales are significant, let’s face it – sometimes, some products just aren’t as important as others. Consider the idea of a hot dog stand – for sales to be effective, a hot dog vendor definitely needs at least three raw items – bakery rolls, hot dog buns, and at least one condiment (because who eats a hot dog without ketchup?).

Sure, perhaps it’d be great to have a variety of soft drinks to purchase to refresh your customers, however, it’s challenging to sell a drink if you don’t have any hot dogs. This same principle applies to all retailers – there are a few different categories of products, and the best inventory managers prioritize and address their inventory in that order.

Consider Breaking Down Your Products Into Three Distinct Categories:

  • Priority Items: These are your top sellers and what helps make your store stand out from the competition. These may be things like a centerpiece product or an item that sells in high volumes at high margins.
  • High Volume Items: These products may not be the highest margin products in your store, but they help in keeping the place look stocked – ideal when a customer walks in to purchase an item.
  • Everything Else: This broad category covers everything that you may stock but may not sell nearly as frequently. Perhaps there are seasonal items that are only relevant during holiday seasons or a particular type of ring that only a few customers purchase throughout the year.

Use this data to inform your restocking priorities – this can be particularly helpful when managing a wide-ranging and ever-changing inventory.

Information Is Key

Knowledge is a critical part of running a business – customers will come to your store in part because you have domain expertise. After all, if you know a thing or two about jewelry, it makes sense to ask a professional.

When you start stocking a product, consider using a stock management tool to keep track of the key characteristics of the data. This may include elements such as:

  • SKU (stock-keeping unit) – this is an internal code for suppliers to help track inventory.
  • Barcode Data – this is an external code that provides a wealth of standardized information on a product.
  • Batch Numbers – this can assist in the case of a product recall.

Don’t ignore product information. This data can be incredibly beneficial, particularly if suppliers change and you need information for finding products from alternative vendors.

Enhancing Your Supply Chain With Wholesalers

When you’re running a small business, it can often be wise to consider having a range of different stockists for your products. For example, while ordering from a single, niche stockist may be quick and easy for inventory management, with more than three-fifths of new businesses failing within five years of launch, having a resilient, protected supply chain can be a great way of ensuring ongoing product supply.

This is where a product wholesaler can be helpful. In many cases, a wholesaler has a wide range of different suppliers that are able to provide access to thousands of different products through a single sales representative. This can be extremely handy if you’re looking to access a range of different products but simply don’t have the time to reach out to a wide range of smaller businesses.

Being able to manage your inventory through a wholesaler can be beneficial – not only by improving product access but also improving resilience within the supply chain.

The Importance of Customer Feedback

Finally, consider the value that customer feedback can bring to your business. While it can be exciting to start a business and sell new products, ultimately, customers will only buy the things you like if they’re in stock, they meet their needs, and they are interested in the product. After all, even big businesses like Coca-Cola understand what happens when you launch a product that customers hate – remember New Coke?

Don’t forget to use customer feedback to help drive stock decisions. Don’t let it be the only driver, of course – sometimes customers don’t understand what’s available. Encouraging them to participate in post-sales surveys, product focus groups, and social media can be a great way to drive feedback and make sure that the right products are stocked to meet their needs.

While inventory management can often seem like a difficult and overwhelming part of a business, in fact, it’s quite a manageable and exciting area of operations. By using the strategies that you’ve picked up in this article, you’ll be sure to develop techniques that will allow you to provide the best possible experience for your customers.

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Spencer Hulse is the Editorial Director at Grit Daily. He is responsible for overseeing other editors and writers, day-to-day operations, and covering breaking news.

Read more

More GD News