Closing Out E-Commerce Inventory Management After the Holiday Season

The 2022 holiday season saw many online retailers suffer from an excess of inventory.

Major online retailers such as Walmart, Target, Gap, and Kohl’s currently have a back piling of extra merchandise on their store shelves and in their warehouses that’s hurting store profits.

Likewise, many independent Shopify merchants are dealing with how to handle their surplus merchandise, so they can clear the way for new products, and recoup their losses on unsold product stock.

If you have a surplus of inventory, then you’ll want to look to upselling and cross-selling post-purchase offer apps, such as CartHook, that can help you quickly liquidate any surplus inventory through one-click upsell offers.

In this article, we’ll offer tips on how you can move slow-selling products to improve your e-commerce inventory management, especially during the slow retail season between January and March. 

What is ecommerce inventory management? 

As a Shopify merchant, you’ll need to quickly and easily track inventory you have at a given time to run a profitable online business.

Having too little stock can mean missing out on new sales opportunities, while having surplus stock results in wasted shelf space, storage problems, obsolete inventory, and reduced profits.

Today, Shopify’s app store contains many helpful third-party apps that streamline the ecommerce inventory management process to predict sales forecasts and track inventory data to make sure you’re holding enough inventory at any given time.

After New Year — perform a year-end inventory counts

At the beginning of every year, ecommerce stores typically perform a year-end inventory count.

The year-end inventory count ensures that your available physical products and online inventory match up, and can help merchants identify surplus products that will need to be liquidated during the slow months of January through March.

Additionally, the year-end inventory tracking can help store owners project the amount of physical inventory required for the next year, so they don’t end up with another surplus the following year.

Many Shopify merchants will encounter a surplus of inventory items that will need to be liquidated in order to recoup any losses, clear out shelf space, and run more promotions to earn revenue after the main holiday season.

Why you need to run ecommerce inventory management to save money and space

The main issues caused by a poor e-commerce inventory management process are overstocking and overselling.

Overstocking means you have too many items sitting in storage, whether it’s on a store shelf or warehouse, which takes up valuable space — ultimately charging you for storage space that doesn’t earn any profits. 

Overselling involves selling items on your website that you don’t physically have enough of, which can hurt sales and ruin the customer experience. 

Imagine your customers’ disappointment to receive an email that their order is currently out of stock after they’ve already placed their order.

Both of these common problems can be avoided through e-commerce inventory management processes. 

8 ideas to close out surplus inventory after BFCM and New Year

If you’re like most ecommerce stores this holiday season, you’ll probably have a large surplus of excess inventory that you’re anxious to get rid of.

While having an ecommerce inventory management system can help prevent this problem, you’ll need the help of upselling apps and automation tools to craft a clever winter liquidation sale and other discounted promotions. 

Try implementing a few of these tips to sell more surplus items during the slow shopping months after the new year:

1. Liquidate seasonal items and create a “Winter Closeout Sale” 

Every winter, you’ll see major retailers and small online stores perform a “Winter Closeout Sale.” 

Its main purpose is to liquidate the underperforming or excess inventory stock from the previous holiday season.

Once you’ve identified your underselling and surplus items, begin discounting drastically, around anywhere from 35%-70% depending on how slow-moving your surplus inventory is. 

2. Remarket and update product descriptions and photos

One way to create renewed interest in your products is by refreshing and remarketing the products on your Shopify website.

Experiment by uploading different product photos, slightly altering the product’s name, and even writing an entirely new product description!

By changing up your product’s description and appearance, and offering a discount, you’ll likely see an uptick in sales on your surplus inventory.

3. Promote surplus inventory items as a post-purchase upsell

Here’s a great tip we love using at CartHook — promote your excess stock as a post-purchase upsell at the end of the checkout process.

After your customer has pressed “Checkout” and is about to complete their order, a post-purchase offer will appear on the screen.

This post-purchase offer, also known as an “upsell funnel,” will recommend a product suggestion they can quickly add to their shopping cart. 

All your customer has to do is click “accept” or “decline” to add the recommended item to their cart.

Shopify merchants who use CartHook see a 15% percent acceptance rate, and a 10% percent increase in sales revenue!

By recommending the same surplus items to every customer who checks out, you can quickly move through excess products to clear the way for new inventory.

4. Send out abandoned cart recovery emails and texts

Clearing out inventory is even more difficult when your online shoppers abandon their carts before checking out. 

Unfortunately, around 69% of online shoppers abandon their carts, never completing their checkout orders. 

To solve the cart abandonment problem, try following these tips:

  • Send out abandoned cart recovery emails and texts using CartHook and TxtCart
  • Give shoppers the option to checkout as a “guest” 
  • Offer free shipping after a certain price threshold
  • Include multiple payment options
  • Include multiple calls-to-action (CTAs) throughout the shopping process
  • Make sure your checkout page is secured

5. Bundle popular items with surplus items to move more products

You can choose between “pure bundling” and “mixed bundling” to combine lesser selling items with more popular items to move more products.

With “pure bundling” you are offering products that are only available through purchasing the bundle, meaning you cannot buy the items separately.

With “mixed bundling” you can offer customers the option to purchase the bundled products, or separately. 

Experiment with different bundling packages to see which moves the most amounts of surplus items.

6. Give away freebies (after reaching a certain price threshold)

Customers love getting a deal, including receiving freebies after spending a certain amount.

Depending on how quickly you need to clear out inventory space, you may consider just giving away your excess items as a way to incentivize customers to spend more money.

For example, you can give away a free gift after a customer spends more than $50 or $75 — your customer will be happy, and you’ll get rid of unwanted inventory items.

7. BOGO sales

BOGO sales are the most popular type of discount, with 66% of shoppers saying it’s their favorite discount. 

Like giving away freebies, BOGO sales have a double benefit — your customers will feel rewarded, which improves customer loyalty and customer retention, and you get a profitable liquidation on your under-selling inventory.

8. Donate surplus items for a tax write-off and a positive public relations story

You may consider donating your excess items to a charitable cause, which can be used as a tax write-off to save your store some money when it comes to paying taxes.

Depending on your donation, you may be able to use your charity as an opportunity for a feel-good public relations story to promote your company, or to promote a cause that you believe in.

Download CartHook — an upselling app for Shopify stores

CartHook is a post-purchase upsell app for Shopify stores that quickly boosts average order value (AOV) by 10%!

Shopify merchants use CartHook to place post-purchase offers immediately after the checkout page that customers can quickly “accept” or “decline” with just one click — with zero risk of cart abandonment.

Shopify merchants who used CartHook saw an acceptance rate of 15% for their post-purchase upsell offers.

Download your free trial of CartHook today and get your one-click upsell funnels up and running today.

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