Making the most out of Black Friday sales with real-time inventory visibility

October 26 2021

The year 2020 changed everything when it comes to shopping. This change in behavior was already set in motion years ago, however the coronavirus pandemic accelerated consumer behavior towards online more than ever before. Despite the fact that many consumers rather shop from their couch, there is still a big group that prefers shopping in physical stores. So how can retailers secure their Black Friday sales when it’s hard to predict where and how consumers are going to shop?

Traditionally, Black Friday is the time of year where many consumers go out for Christmas shopping. What started as a 24-hour event has turned into a full week and eventually almost a month of great deals. Discounts already start early November, however the best deals are made close to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

This long period of markdowns challenges retailers to deliver at the top of their game, with the absolute climax right after Thanksgiving.

Are you ready for curbside pick-up and BOPIS?

One of the lessons learned from last year’s holiday season is that consumers are rather safe than sorry and purchase their gifts earlier. This trend was already visible last year, but due to the ever-growing pressure on delivery services, consumers start securing their bargains even earlier to not end up empty-handed.

Besides early purchases, an increasing number of consumers choose to pick up items by themselves using omnichannel services such as curbside pick-up and BOPIS (Click & Collect), using their stores as true omnichannel hubs.

Securing Black Friday sales across all channels without overstocking and cancelled orders

Despite the fact that many consumers still believe the best deals are made in-store, Black Friday mobile spending went up with 40% according to research by Adobe Analytics.  While the consumers moved online, a large portion of inventory still sits in stores.

Securing the sale across all channels starts with knowing where items are located in retail supply chains. This requires a single view on inventory in order to prevent waste and losses. Where many retailers still use separate inventories for e.g. store replenishment and eCommerce fulfillment, the winners will be those who are able to leverage their total inventory across all channels.

Consolidating multiple inventories into a single view on stock provides retailers a better understanding of their sellable items and increases overall merchandise availability.  This way, retailers can secure a sale without disappointing customers. Using RFID technology, a sold item is immediately assigned the correct status, preventing it from being accidentally sold again, resulting in a cancelled order.

Boosting eCommerce with store inventory using RFID

With the adoption of hyperlocal fulfillment services, such as ship-from-store, and a distribution approach of utilizing stores as so-called “mini-DCs” organizational silos are becoming connected. Because of this, digitizing store inventories with the objective to increase online sellable stock (digital availability) is the new driver for successful shopping experiences and happy customers.

1. Safety thresholds: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Thresholds are often applied to ensure “sellability” when dealing with high stock inaccuracies, which is a remedy that does not tackle the problem at its source and leads to markdowns.

2. Local vs. total digital availability

The characteristics of digital availability are different for various omnichannel-concepts, such as last-mile delivery and ship-from-store. Therefore, we distinguish the following variations of digital availability: local digital availability and total digital availability.

3. Knowing each item with RFID

To successfully increase digital availability, it is essential to know exactly where products are at the unique item level. This is the only way high stock accuracy will be achieved. This eventually creates end-to-end stock visibility.

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In today’s shopping reality, the lines between physical and digital commerce are fading. For the last years, and accelerated during the COVID19-related lock-down periods, there has been an ongoing adoption......

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For now, we wish everyone good luck with the final Black Friday preparations! Would you like to learn how to boost customer satisfaction enabled by perfect inventory visibility without waste and losses? Our experts are happy to talk to you!