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7 Top tips to effectively manage stock selection and buying for retail businesses

Offering the right product, at the right price, at the right time has huge success criteria in retail business.  From the smallest retail business to the biggest superstore, effective stock control is essential. Finding the right products to sell, when to sell them and not to be left with merchandise that's eating away at your profit is a challenge for any business.

Not only is it frustrating to sell excess stock at a reduced to clear price,it's also corrosive to your company's resources.

Therefore, it is imperative to the success of your business to be able to locate the best sources for those products. Once you know what products or product lines you would like to sell, it's time to find places to buy wholesale merchandise.

See below for 7 Top tips to effectively manage stock selection and buying for retail businesses:

  1. Minimum stock level - identify a minimum stock level, and re-order when stock reaches that level. This is known as the Re-order Level.
  1. Stock review - have regular reviews of stock. At every review you place an order to return stocks to a predetermined level.
  1. Store your stock wisely- It is so easy to just place your stock wherever it fits but this can cause errors when your staff are picking in a hurry.
  1. Keep control of Best Before Dates - If you offer products with Best Before Dates you are obviously liable to hefty fines if you ship out of date products to customers. It is also important that you check the Best Before date as you pack each order. Often you will have multiple batches in stock so the dates may be different and you cannot always assume that you are still sending out products from an ‘in date’ batch.
  1. Set a minimum stock level- Each supplier will have different lead times and if you did want to avoid going out of stock you will need to establish how long it normally takes to restock and how long it normally takes for that minimum stock level to run out.
  1. Manage returns effectively - One of the biggest issues with retailers, certainly in the fashion and electronics markets is the correct handling of returns. If you do have any stock returned because they are defective then you will also have to ensure that your stock levels aren’t adjusted upwards and that you account for it with your suppliers.
  1. Consider an Automated solution such as Bar code scanners - There are a number of different types of scanners to choose from, and you need to know what features are key for your business. If you work in retail, healthcare or hospitality industries, a 2D scanner might be best. Run a small office? Perhaps a handheld or entry-level type of bar code scanner might fit the bill.

There are also scanners that are disinfectant ready for healthcare and more rugged for harsher warehouse environments. Mobile enterprise is also a growing trend within businesses today. If that’s a path your company chooses, maybe a mobile solution to turn smart phones into scanners will suffice.

Finding it difficult to understand retail buying? Read more about our retail buying courses, merchandising courses and retail management courses.