Sporting goods e-commerce retailers face their own unique set of challenges. The huge variety of products sold, along with the seasonal nature of different sports, means there are many complications when trying to plan inventories and stock levels. Successfully managing the seasonal peaks in demand, without overselling or overstocking, is the key to staying in this highly competitive game.
It’s a difficult balance to strike though; with stock having to be purchased from manufacturers before the start of each sporting season, it can be very easy to accidentally buy too much or too little of a product, meaning you’re either taking up space in your warehouse unnecessarily or missing out on customer sales. To make matters more complicated, sporting goods are generally refreshed and updated regularly, meaning any leftover stock from the previous season will have to be sold off at a discount.
Let’s talk tactics
The true key to success is both understanding and managing this seasonal ebb and flow of demand. Forecasting the likely demand for products and stocking accordingly is only half the challenge and that alone won’t enable you to achieve the maximum sales volumes. The other half is planning and organising your warehouse effectively, so that orders can be turned around as quickly as possible. This should include an element of flexibility, so any unforeseen peaks or troughs can be combated immediately, else you might find yourself starting on the back foot.
Whether the weather…
Unseasonal weather can severely affect sporting goods sales, causing unexpected spikes in demand for certain products or completely destroying demand for others. There’s obviously nothing that can be done to stop the weather but you can be set up to respond accordingly. Being able to take on new inventory, as required, and then despatch it quickly, allows you to tackle unanticipated fluctuations in demand. However, if you’re relying on a paper-based system to manage your warehousing and inventory, then reorganising everything will be too time consuming to be practical, meaning you won’t be able to respond to unforeseen variations and your business may suffer as a result.
How Warehouse Management Software (WMS) can help
If you’re still managing things manually, you will know that printing out the relevant pieces of paper, sorting orders and locating products in the warehouse can be very time consuming. Organising the space itself can take weeks, especially if your warehouse is an unconventional shape, and there’s no easy method of reviewing the effectiveness of your fulfilment team, when there are so many variables causing issues. Implementing an effective Warehouse Management System will help solve all of these problems and more.
Replacing the paper elements of the process with a digital solution gives retailers considerably more flexibility in their operations. Processing and despatch capabilities are enhanced, meaning that peaks and troughs can be responded to faster and more easily. Overselling quickly becomes a thing of the past as inventory levels are synchronised, and thanks to the increased flexibility of your warehouse space, you can implement tactical marketing and sales campaigns to sell off overstocks quickly and free up the space.
Peoplevox Warehouse Management Software makes planning your warehouse even easier. It is incredibly easy-to-use and requires less than an hour’s training before staff can use it.
Managing picking, sorting, deliveries and returns becomes far more efficient – the ability to assign unique barcodes to each individual product means new inventory can be checked-in and ready for sale within the hour. Plus, by using dynamic locations and location sequencing, Peoplevox WMS allows you to get picking staff through the warehouse more efficiently and keep fast-moving stock in the most convenient locations for picking.
If you would like to learn more about how Peoplevox WMS could help your sporting goods store, contact us for a free, no obligation consultation anytime. Our friendly team of experts will be happy to help tailor a solution to meet the unique demands of your e-commerce business.