The last thing you want to say to a potential customer when they are at your branch is that you’re out of stock for a particular item. The customer, in most cases, will go somewhere else to purchase it and may not choose you in the future. Although at the time, the cost of this decision may not be so obvious, it is the long term effect of this happening too often that is damaging to your business.
With the tough economic climate, what could your business do to ensure that the right stock is available in the right quantities and at the branches where it’s most needed? We have compiled a few tips to help your business stock more effectively, so you can make the most of your business, your resources, and your staff.
1. Control your stock levels by listening to your customers
No-one likes being asked a lot of questions when it comes to purchasing decisions unless their is something in it for them. However when questions are asked in a friendly, polite way during a conversation, we do not mind answering.
Your staff could be your biggest asset. Encourage them to talk to customers, to find out what they expect from a store visit, and most importantly find out the bigger picture behind their visit. During your staff meeting, ask workers for memorable customers, purchases and so on. You might be surprised by how much they will remember. The next step is to look for a trend within that information and act upon it.
Listen to your customers! They want to be heard, and they can provide vital insights to help you improve your stock management process and control.
2. Provide the right information at the right time
The key to running a successful business day to day is effective time management. When you know where the right information is kept, you can answer customer requests promptly and efficiently, even if you don’t have a particular item in stock.
You can then tell them when it is expected or alternatively you can point them to a branch where is it available. This standard of customer service can help you make sure that you don’t lose those all important returning customers.
3. Don’t waste time
You need to devise a process that will be time efficient for as many people as possible in your company. Your financial director needs the right KPIs to do their job, members of your warehouse team need the right tools to manage their stock on site, and your delivery team need the right information at the right time. Easy access and utilisation of essential business information enables you to make critical decisions strategically, quickly and effectively.
Whether you’re buying from overseas or directly from UK, procuring from multiple specialist sources, or purchasing stock from distributors, business performance depends on product quality, price, differentiation and availability.