As a new business owner, you might expect all products in your inventory to sell at the same price anytime throughout the year.
Depending on their requirement, certain products have more demand during certain seasons. This means their prices can spike during the peak season and slump during the off-season.
If you want to maximize your sales and revenue, you need to predict these seasonal fluctuations. However, this is easier said than done.
If you are a growing ecommerce businesses, here are the top ways to better understand seasonal demand and predict sales fluctuations effectively.
What Is Seasonal Demand?
Seasonal demand refers to how buying trends of customers change throughout a certain period of the year. These trends are influenced by various environmental and political factors. The demand increases or decreases according to the needs of the customers, which also affects the price of goods.
For example, air conditioners are in high demand during the summer season. People buy them in large quantities for cooling, and the price-per-unit goes up. As the demand declines in winter, the prices will go down.
Holidays like Valentine’s Day and Thanksgiving are well-known as times that certain décor and products are in high demand. Brands take advantage of these seasons and offer products that match the demand to increase sales.
There are benefits and drawbacks of following seasonal demand for an ecommerce business.
More Sales and Higher Revenue
A major advantage of selling seasonal products is that these products are in high demand during their peak seasons. Consumers tend to spend more on these products, and their spending habits keep increasing every year.
Businesses can capitalize and generate more sales which naturally leads to more revenue by offering high-demand products during peak seasons.
Time Flexibility for Stocking Inventory
Businesses also have plenty of time to stock up on seasonal products before the peak season arrives. They can predict the demand for these products in advance and buy them a few months before.
It helps to have a long lead time when forecasting and stocking inventory. Brands can have their seasonal inventory ready to fulfill customer orders during the peak season.
Plan a Sales and Marketing Campaign Ahead of Time
Another advantage of selling seasonal products is that businesses can plan their marketing strategy well in advance.
They can use the off-season to research, test, and create different marketing campaigns and strategies. They can also use past and present data to decide on the discounts they will offer on the products.
A smart discount policy can help them increase their sales and capitalize on the seasonal demand during the peak season.
There are a few challenges that businesses face while trying to fulfill customer demands during the peak season. These issues especially arise due to inaccurate inventory forecasting, which leads to a lack of balance in the exact stock required for the season.
If a brand is unable to acquire the required stock on time, this will lead to stockouts that prevent them from filling customer orders on time and missing out on potential sales opportunities.
Economic or cultural shifts can also affect the flow of inventory. Inflation or travel restrictions might create inbound shipping issues. A brand might try to counteract any shipping delays and end up overstocking. With too much inventory they’ll be left with deadstock that won’t sell after the holiday or peak season.
Sellers can always set up big discounts for these products, but that can hurts their profitability in the end.
Supply Chain Delays
It’s important to fill up your inventory with seasonal stock ahead of time by contacting your suppliers beforehand. If you try to do so in real-time, various issues can occur that might disrupt the supply chain.
There can be environmental factors like storms or international border tensions that can cause delays in the delivery of your shipments.
Anticipating Sales Volume Fluctuations
It’s essential to accurately forecast your product demand before peak season to anticipate the change in sales volume and prevent inventory issues such as stockouts and overstocking.
That’s much easier said than done. No business will be able to anticipate any fluctuations in trends or supply chain delays. There are some tried and true ways to get your forecast as close to accurate as possible. Here are some tips to help you anticipate volume fluctuations.
Accurate Inventory Management
Invest in a quality inventory management system. Anything outdated will likely cause you more errors and headaches. Try to automate any processes that you can, it will reduce inaccuracies and help save time.
A system that can give you real-time insights on your inventory and sales will help you make more informed business decisions. You’ll need to continue to monitor your inventory flow (from procurement to fulfillment) throughout the season.
Real-Time Data for Analysis
Having real-time data will help you identify patterns and inefficiencies. It’s also imperative to help predict future demand for seasonal products.
For example, suppose you are selling electric heaters during the winter season from December to February. The real-time sales data during that season helps you estimate the demand for heaters for the next season.
You can obtain ongoing data from industry and consumer trends and your competitors’ sales metrics. By having accurate information on product demand, you can inform your suppliers of the products ahead of time.
Tracking Peak Seasons
The information gathered from these tools helps you to identify the best time to promote and sell your products, which may not fall into the same exact time frame as you thought.
Analyze your data to gain insights on how to plan ahead and know when to stock up on the items that customers are looking for during specific times of the year.
For example, recent studies show that about 56% of U.S. consumers started shopping for the November to December holiday season as early as October 2022. This means you should aim to have your products ready for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays by July-August. You’ll be able to take advantage of the lower prices and availability of the stock-keeping units (SKU) in the summer season.
Knowledge of Best-Selling Seasonal Products
Another benefit of using data-driven tools is that they help you identify the seasonal products in your niche. These are products that are only in demand or available for a limited period.
By knowing when a product will sell best, you can optimize your inventory and marketing strategies to generate more sales and revenue. You can also use insights from industry experts and notable publications to find out the best-selling seasonal products in your niche.
Seasonal demand can be a challenge for any ecommerce business, but it can also be an opportunity to boost your sales and revenue.
There are many benefits to working with a third party logistics company (3PL), if you are seeking ecommerce fulfillment support we’d love to hear from you. You can read DCL’s list of services to learn more, or check out the many companies we work with to ensure great logistics support. Send us a note to connect about how we can help your company grow.
Tags: KPIs & Metrics