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Whether in retail stores, warehouses, or any other business that focuses on moving and storing inventory, there’s always some items that never sell as well as others. Maybe it’s the wrong time of year, maybe people consider it too expensive, maybe it just isn’t an item that people want as much as you were hoping.


Whatever the reason, there’s bound to be some items you have that just aren’t selling like you’d hoped, and after a while those items can start to pile up. If you need help managing your slower-moving inventory in either warehouses or retail storefronts, here’s a few tips we’ve pulled together to get those products moving:


Identify What’s Truly “Slow Moving”: If you have some items that aren’t selling like you expected, it’s important to identify what’s truly ‘slow moving’ or dead inventory as opposed to something that just isn’t totally meeting expectations. Set a standard for measurement and identify the items that aren’t meeting your sales projections; many stores consider factors like how many of a certain SKU had been shipped over a period of time, or what quantity you had to order versus how many you’ve moved over the previous 90-120 days. Find a quantifiable measurement and figure out what items meet this standard.


Think Like Your Customers: Once you’ve figured out what items you have that aren’t moving as fast, the next thing to do is to look at reasons why – and the best way to start is to see how your customers are seeing your product. Are they not aware you’re carrying it? Do they consider it too expensive when compared to other, similar products? Can they not find it on your website or in your retail locations? Take some time to see things from the customer’s perspective and figure out where the bottleneck might be for moving these items.


Change Your Marketing Efforts: This is a little easier for actual retail storefronts than it is warehouses or online retailers, but steps can be taken either way. You could consider doing something like adding new merchandise displays or wire shelving to draw more attention to items in storefronts. If you sell direct-to-customer or only work online, you might consider revamping your website/catalog or maybe engaging in some online marketing (like SEO or paid Google/Bing ads) to draw more attention to the products you want to move faster.


Consider Liquidation: It’s never anything a business wants to deal with, but in many situations you might want to consider selling your slower products at a huge discount, or liquidating them outright to a wholesaler that deals in backstock. The loss might be noticeable, but in extreme situations where these items aren’t moving you can consider this as a way to make some money back (more than you would than waiting for them to sell) and it’ll free up valuable space for items that people actually buy, which is better for your bottom line in the long run.


Prevent Slow Moving Inventory Next Time: A few pre-emptive steps could come in handy for avoiding slow-selling items in the future. When purchasing new items for the first time, there’s a few factors to consider such as purchase price, shipping/handling costs, and any sort of projected item demand you can find for it. Making demand assumptions for items you’ve never carried before can be a huge factor in preventing slow-moving overstock in the future, which is always good for your bottom line.

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