Most likely if you own a retail store you have begun planning for the influx of holiday merchandise. Ordering the right products in the right quantities to satisfy customer demand is a tough task at any time of year, especially so during the shopping excitement between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. The goal is to produce as many sales as possible without leaving yourself overloaded with extra product at the end of the season.
Since merchandise flies off the display shelves this time of year it is important to have sufficient back stock in order to constantly replace products on the shelves as they are sold. Your shelves should always be sufficiently stocked, but not crammed, with merchandise in order to make the shopping experience easy and pleasant for customers. This requires an orderly warehouse shelving, or back stock, system.
Keeping your extra merchandise neat and orderly is crucial all year round, but especially during the holiday rush. When employees visit the back room to look for merchandise that has run out up front, they need to be able to find it fast and efficiently. Holiday shoppers are not going to wait long while an associate peruses the shelves and you risk them leaving or becoming angry. A few ways to keep back stock organized include:
- Label each aisle: Label the aisles of back stock to make sure associates can easily find what they are looking for.
- Keep like products together: Shoes go with shoes; board games go with board games. Keeping products grouped together in a strategic way makes everything much easier to find.
- Organization at the end of the night: once everyone has left the store and it is time to put back merchandise that is left out, make sure it all goes back to its proper place. Employees are tired and just want to go home, but there should still be a sweep of the back room to make sure anything being put back is where it should be, to make sure it is easy to find the next day.
- Have a back room associate during the holidays: Having a few employees that are dedicated to the back room can really save you time and stress. They will be on top of putting product back in the proper place and also able to guide employees where to find what they are looking for, or can even bring it out themselves.
- If you can’t have a back room associate, work on a back stock training program: Make sure every employee takes a tour of the back room and has a good understand of what goes where. This way when they are in a rush to find something they will know exactly where to look.
Overall to get ready for the overflow of holiday merchandise, prepare employees for this busy time of year, keep store shelves fully stocked, and make sure every associate is familiar with the back stock and products on your warehouse shelving. Being familiar with the merchandise as well as store layout is a critical part to holiday shopping success.