0 comments on “Ways to Manage Seasonality in Small and Medium Businesses (Sales and Inventory)”

Ways to Manage Seasonality in Small and Medium Businesses (Sales and Inventory)

Filipinos are known to celebrate Christmas early. Once September kicks in, you’d hear Jose Mari Chan songs blasting on mall grounds, see Dapitan Arcade stalls abound Christmas decorations for sale, and of course, experience unimaginably worse standstill traffic.

We call it the “-ber months”. Filipino businesses rely on this four-month period for their entire year’s sales.  This may be true and established for some, but many are just following suit and don’t even know when the exact period of their business’ seasonality peaks. In fact, in its recent reader survey, Rappler found that -ber season is a myth – to quote: “Though many retailers begin their Christmas campaigns in September, consumers aren’t making the bulk of their purchases that early.”

Not knowing about this behavior as it relates to your business is dangerous and risky especially in inventory management and cash flow. Obviously, understocking leads to lost opportunities and unserved deliveries, resulting to reputation damage. However, another real danger is in overstocking, because cash is tied up to inventories that you may need to undervalue just to sell.

The only way to outlast seasonality woes is through data-driven planning and analysis. Off-peak seasons are a great time to start this deep-dive thinking process so you are equipped when the next peak season comes.

If you already think this is unnecessary time to spend, better be prepared for the worst because truly, it pays to pay attention.

Here’s how:

  • Historical information is good reference point, especially because you want to understand overall direction in a do-nothing scenario.
    • First things first – know your seasonality! Point-of-sale (POS) solutions are top sources for this key information because seasonality should be drilled down as far as days than just months.
    • Then, find out historical inventory balances (at least monthly). Just note that not all POS can provide this, except when it is integrated with a dynamic analytics tool.
  • Find out patterns and plan accordingly — the devil is in the details!
    • Inventory supply must anticipate the demand highs and lows. Understanding and establishing patterns in sales trends help minimize errors in buying inventory.
    • Thorough review of inventory balances highlights slow or non-moving inventory, allowing you to plan returns, exchanges, or proper markdown strategies to prevent inventory losses.
  • Ensure planning is an ongoing process. Monitor performance, see if plans work, and adjust as necessary.

Don’t succumb to being a bandwagoner especially with running your business. Know MORE so you can WIN in business.

rapid insights zone

How can we help? Accelerating your analytics journey is the core objective of RAPID INSIGHTS ZONE — premium analytics professional services, made available to all business types and sizes. We offer PREMIUM but affordable retail management solutions and professional services suitable to your requirements: point-of-sale and analytics. Our services will help you KNOW MORE through analytics, so you have MORE TIME and resources to focus on growth. When you are ready to accelerate your analytics journey and inevitable business transformation, contact us!

0 comments on “Expand Your Business with the Trendy Midorexics”

Expand Your Business with the Trendy Midorexics

While Millennials are indeed a strong force in consumer market, did you know there is another rising consumer group called, Midorexics?

In its Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2017 report, Euromonitor International defines Midorexia consumers as follows:

Midorexia is a tongue-in-cheek label for the middle-aged and older consumer who acts younger than their years. However, this label highlights the shifting status and expectations of a demographic whose members are living and working for longer and prioritizing wellness while challenging the typical age-appropriate behaviour of older people. These consumers are transforming what it means to be older in terms of lifestyle and are more demanding in their consumption needs, creating what is increasingly referred to as the “Longevity economy”.

Because Midorexics defy ageing and live their days proving they can keep up with younger generations, they are also tech-savvy, active, and can be influential on social media. Look at the Instagram feeds of Gretchen Barretto, Alice Dixson, and Ina Raymundo (among others) — they all flaunt their youthful skin, fit bodies, healthy choices, and on-trend outfits. Heck, both 20-year-olds and 30-year-olds wish to be like them when they turn 40!

In fact, even retail pharmacies experience this demand shift – the usual maintenance prescriptions availed by this age group has changed to wellness and weight loss supplements like MX3, ATC Squalene, Yaki, etc. Likewise, food and beverage industries have responded as they increase healthier offerings for the conscious Midorexics.

Indeed, Midorexics are a force to reckon with, having the means and willingness to “invest” in youth and wellness. But make no mistake, their experience and wisdom give them confidence to demand the highest standards in delivery and customer service.

Small and medium businesses can expand their business by ensuring they respond quickly and successfully to Midorexics. By knowing who they are, where they are, and how they behave, selling point triggers can be identified and real opportunities are always maximized.

rapid insights zone

How can we help? Accelerating your analytics journey is the core objective of RAPID INSIGHTS ZONE — premium analytics professional services, made available to all business types and sizes. We offer PREMIUM but affordable retail management solutions and professional services suitable to your requirements: point-of-sale and analytics. Our services will help you KNOW MORE through analytics, so you have MORE TIME and resources to focus on growth. When you are ready to accelerate your analytics journey and inevitable business transformation, contact us!

0 comments on “Why “Basic” and “Traditional” are No Longer Enough to Address Retail Fraud?”

Why “Basic” and “Traditional” are No Longer Enough to Address Retail Fraud?

Retail businesses thrive in sales volume — hundreds of transactions occur each day while the value per transaction is relatively low. Store personnel leverage on these, prompting them to believe that it would be hard to detect and easy to get away with their “petty” fraudulent acts. While these types of fraud might be trivial per transaction, it can easily accumulate to large sums over time. More importantly, you wouldn’t want to employ dishonest and corrupt people who can certainly influence the rest of your organization.

Small to medium business owners would soon realize it’s time to look at tell-tale signs of fraud but would resort to traditional methods or purchase of basic, primitive point-of-sale (POS) systems, thinking that these would save them money. Regrettably, here are key limitations:

  • Manual methods result to lacking and untimely information hence, inspection or audit has often been a matter of experience that are usually outdated and not concentrated on detecting actual red flags.
  • Obsolete technology like basic POS cannot generate rich and intelligent management exception flags.
  • Inadequate and manual control activities increase opportunities for employees to abuse refunds, returns, and discounts.
  • As traditional techniques tend to be historical than predictive, there is absence of continuous monitoring that can help generate insights to be acted upon.
  • Because manual methods also result to unreliable sales and inventory data, theft, robbery, and lost sales can remain undetected for long periods.

On the other hand, the following benefits for investing or upgrading to an intelligent POS solution will far outweigh its costs:

  • Reduction of manual intervention, resulting to increased data integrity
  • Deployment of pervasive and automated controls
  • Proactive detection of control lapses through regular exception reports, alerting management to unusual activities

By implementing the right solution to leverage the rich data environment that is common in retail businesses (from hourly transaction activities to employee shift records), specific areas of fraud exposures can be identified, and appropriate measures can be deployed.

rapid insights zone

How can we help? Accelerating your analytics journey is the core objective of RAPID INSIGHTS ZONE — premium analytics professional services, made available to all business types and sizes. Our solutions and services (point-of-sale and analytics) will help you KNOW MORE (about fraud, among others), so you have MORE TIME and resources to focus on growth. If you are scouting for systems that will help you achieve real benefits, don’t just assess and validate the features. Seek the background and kinds of people behind the development and delivery of the systems. When you are ready to accelerate your analytics journey and inevitable business transformation, contact us!

0 comments on “Best Way to Handle Inventory in Retail Business”

Best Way to Handle Inventory in Retail Business

  • Customer: “Just a cobb salad, romaine lettuce only, no egg, ranch dressing on the side, extra bacon and cheese.”
  • Store Personnel: “Sorry, that’s out of stock.”

One of the greatest challenges for retailers is managing inventory – just imagine the thousands of items that retailers carry and handle at each location.  Indeed, inventory nightmares can become all too real.

Back in the day, stores spend long hours counting endless rows and shelves of items. Staffs refer to count results to manually determine how much to order for each of those 5,500 or more items.   No one can even ascertain the accuracy of such counts and yet still rely on it.   For sure, inventory shrinkage or losses (i.e. expired ingredients) persist but nobody knows how much and to what extent, considering the lack of reliable records.

How can retailers address and handle inventory in the best way possible? 

In today’s highly competitive and rapidly changing business environment, retailers must transition from manual inventory management into automated and intelligent inventory management systems to save time and money at different levels, including visibility to:

  • Out of stock. Running out of stock is opportunity lost and poor customer service.
  • Dead stock. Dead stocks are items sitting on a shelf for several months without any sales – either they are out-of-date, out-of-season, spoiled, or simply cannot be located.  Low sellers can be marked down or discounted, bundled with other items, or exchanged/returned to vendors.
  • Shrinkage, theft. With a reliable inventory system, you will promptly detect and know any shrinkage, employee theft, and be able to quickly institute counter measures.

By managing the above-mentioned concerns, retail store owners will be very pleased at the amount of money that can be saved quickly and over time.  Weeding out dead stocks and slow sellers will generate FREE CASH that can be better used to beef up fast selling items, avoid out-of-stock situations, or afford to open new stores.

Investing in a very good inventory system will certainly enable highly effective inventory management – i.e. optimum stocking for maximum sales, alarm for reorder points, detection of shrinkage losses, and tracking of anomalies.

At best, systems must have built-in intelligent features and e-enables analytics power!

rapid insights zone

How can we help? If you are scouting for systems that will help you achieve real benefits, don’t just assess and validate the systems features. Seek the background and kinds of people behind the development and delivery of the systems. We offer PREMIUM but affordable retail management solutions and professional services suitable to your requirements. Contact us for assistance.

3 comments on “Responsive Marketing through Analytics”

Responsive Marketing through Analytics

responsive marketing f&b
“I’ll have a quad venti 140 degrees breve no foam with whip no sugar stirred skinny three pump vanilla syrup.”
“Hendrick’s and tonic, please. Trim with frozen cucumbers, lime wedges, pink peppercorns, and a green cardamom pod.”
“Just a cobb salad, romaine lettuce only, no egg, ranch dressing on the side, extra bacon and cheese.”

If you are in retail food & beverage, the above order scenarios may seem over-the-top, but considered absolutely normal for your type of business.

In the past, marketing efforts are focused on promoting product and service features and are generally costly – businesses are not able to get concrete payback on such efforts mainly because of irrelevance: 1) they are not reaching the right customers and/or 2) their customers want something else or better.

Today, digitization empowers customers to never “settle”. They know options are available and will bias according to your business’ ability to tailor-fit based on customer preferences.

While it is important to build identity with core products and services, your business must adapt to growing expectations, so you foster new customers and expand relationships beyond a one-time sale.

The shift from traditional product-centric marketing to the modern and relevant customer-centric marketing approach presents a compelling reason to know MORE about your sales and who generates them for you – your customers.

Most small and medium business entrepreneurs would claim to already have an excellent understanding of their customers, based on basic demographics and historical sales data. To a certain extent, this is true because their smaller customer base presents an advantage to maintain more personalized customer dealings. Also, point-of-sale, e-commerce, and other sales data-gathering solutions exist and now made available (and affordable) to small and medium businesses. However, this would still fall short.

Information is only valuable if you can extract insights from it. Data consolidation and visualization with drill capabilities must come after data-gathering, enabling big-picture analytics that you can act upon, timely and intelligently.

Without analytics, you will find it difficult to derive the right questions: Who are your customers? Where can they be reached? What are they buying? What triggers them to buy? How much are they willing to spend?

With analytics, you gain real opportunities to target your most valuable customers, anticipate their needs, and win trust that your business will be able to provide them those needs.

rapid insights zone

How can we help? Accelerating your analytics journey is the core objective of RAPID INSIGHTS ZONE — premium analytics professional services, made available to all business types and sizes. We offer PREMIUM but affordable retail management solutions and professional services suitable to your requirements: point-of-sale and analytics. Our services will help you KNOW MORE through analytics, so you have MORE TIME and resources to focus on growth. When you are ready to accelerate your analytics journey and inevitable business transformation, contact us!