What to do about slow moving inventory part 2:Slow moving inventory can be the bane of ecommerce retailers without them ever knowing it. It can take up expensive warehousing space, and it keeps your capital tied up and vulnerable. Working with your e-fulfilment partner to define your slow moving SKUs is the first step (see my last article), but then what?
Most e-retailers instinctively reduce the price per unit, and hope to sell off the overstock. This can be a mistake, and result in substantial loss of the capital that that stock represents. Some careful analysis first could save you a lot of money.
Marketing your way out of SMIHave a look at the state of your marketing efforts and see if you can find a reason that SKU isn’t moving as fast as you’d hoped. After all, marketing is the core of e-commerce, from your point of view.
First, look to your website(s). How easy is it for visitors who have never been before to find these items? The bigger your ecommerce catalogue, the harder it can be for visitors to even find some products. Is it doe to shortcomings in your on-site navigation tools? Are the slow SKUs just buried under the faster ones? Make sure all of your products can be found quickly using internal and browser navigation tools. If they cannot, try moving your slower items to the tops of your category pages, or see a web designer about implementing a better search function.
Now, let’s examine your images. Once you’ve navigated to the product, how good does it look on your site? Compare the pictures of your SMI to your faster products. Is there a substantial difference? Do your slower SKUs have fewer, or poorer quality pictures? If so, fix this. If it looks like you, the shopkeeper, consider these to be ‘lesser’ goods, what else will the consumer think? Do the same analysis with your product descriptions. Are they boring, confusing, or worse, misspelled? Now, let’s look at your SEO efforts. What page does Google have you on for your slower moving inventory? I don’t need to tell you how few googlers go past page two. If it is a problem, look to optimise your categories and product details. Make sure the description isn’t just copied from another website. Google hates that.
Try this for a few weeks, and see if that moves any more product. If not, then consider sales and promotions, which will be the focus of part 3.