In this post:
- The challenges of managing inventory during the busy season
- The process of successfully managing and purchasing inventory during the busy season
- What you can do to help steady your retail floral shop’s cash flow during inventory purchasing
Floral businesses make most of their profits during busy seasons like; Valentine’s Day, wedding season or during the holidays when customers buy fresh flowers for home decor. As a florist, you have to overcome several unique issues during each busy season.
Challenges of Managing Inventory at your Florist Business
Expenses like marketing, designer flowers and extra inventory are halted during the lull in your year. When things get busy, the transition to ramp back up involves a surge of up-front cash flow to be prepared.
Building a sense of loyalty among part-time workers for your seasonal requirements is a necessity but a challenge. Plan ahead for your hiring process and find ways to manage your part-time staff efficiently.
Inventory Control Management
Storing excess inventory for an extended period of time is not the ideal environment for flowers. If you don’t manage your stock purchases you can’t just sell to a discounted retailer like other retail industries. Often, you lose that stock.
Managing your Stock
During the busy season, it is important to keep your flowers fresh. It is also essential to ensure that capital is not tied up unnecessarily. If anything happens in your production process, it can mean a big loss for your business.
Every florist should have a list of stock items that they keep new and handy so that production continues to run smoothly.
The quick list of stock items you should have at your florist business:
- Exotic flowers and foliage
- Artificial flowers and plants
- Accessories such as chocolates, vases, teddies, champagne, and containers
- Decorative accessories such as ribbons, wraps, baskets, wires, and various oasis’
- Equipment such as scissors, knives, strings, pot tapes, etc.
- Stationery items such as invoice pads, paper, ink cartridges, till rolls, markers etc.
Successfully Managing your Inventory
Determine what you need
In a floral business, the stock fluctuates enormously during different seasons. For this reason, it is crucial to decide how much stock to store based on the size of your shop and the working capital you have. Therefore, a florist business owner needs to have sufficient inventory. The reasons for effective inventory control are:
- To ensure that you have fresh flowers in stock that mirror the latest market and creative trends
- To help track stock loss through damage or theft. Too much stock can be hard to track.
- To understand which flowers are more popular during which season and which are not. This enables forecasts to be made for busy periods.
- To ensure cash flow, that allows more money for peak seasons or special occasions.
- To evaluate sales and conditions of stock, so that price reductions can be put in place.
Analyze Historical Sales Data
Forecasting demand is one of the biggest challenges during the busy season. You might be taking an informed guess at how many sales you expect to make within a given period. But why guess when there are various tools available to assist you. They can help with seasonal forecasting and assist in predicting basic sales or seasonal demands. You can analyze historical data and seasonal variations to identify problems that may affect the replenishment of perennial flowers throughout the year. Once you have this data, use it to set minimum stock levels and protect your cash flow.
Identify Seasonal Timelines and Demand
To plan for your busy seasons, you need to understand each season’s time period. This will be different depending on your location and will help you meet customer demands throughout the year. As these busy seasons are usually short, you can have the complete stock delivered in advance. Sometimes you can get a discount for ordering well in advance. By identifying your timelines, you can purchase the correct amount and type of inventory with little stress.
Categorize your Inventory by Season
Categorize inventory stock based on the life span of the flowers. This will help you differentiate the purely seasonal flowers from the perennial flowers that are usually sold year-round. For instance, the market for Begonia is year-long but demand spikes over certain holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year. Purely seasonal flowers like Acashia, Amaryllis, Carnation, Evergreens, Gerbera Daisies, Ginger, Helleborus, etc. are those found during winter and that attract less demand outside of that season. You should establish an effective inventory control process to avoid overstock of flowers as they have short shelf life.
Automate Order Fulfillment
Managing your inventory packing, tracking, and shipping during peak season can be challenging, as seasonal demand brings an influx of orders. You can implement an order management system to overcome such issues and ensure smooth fulfillment of tasks during holidays. Order management software will help you seamlessly manage back-end operations. The operations you can better manage are; inventory tracking, labeling the range of products and packing to avoid shipping errors.
Get the Right Tech
Most floral businesses uses an inventory or retail management platform. These sophisticated platforms offer tools such as; interactive point of sale, the ability to accept credit cards, personalized invoicing, loyalty programs, and inventory trends. Make sure you do proper research before deciding on an inventory control software. What you choose, will keep your stock organized and enable you to pack and ship products swiftly during busy seasons.
Inventory management software eliminates the inconvenience of manually managing your inventory whenever you make a sale. An effective inventory and order management system will be worth the investment for small retailers.
Use Capital to Keep Business Steady
As we mentioned earlier, there is a lot for a florist to do to successfully manage inventory. People will come back if your flowers are always fresh and on trend. However, if you are out of stock of the flowers they want or do not have fresh flowers for them to gift, you will see less and less business. You should instead, be growing your business! A lot of retail businesses opt for a partnership with a capital provider so that they can focus on saving for big projects. Use capital for inventory, expansion or to get that tech you know will help you meet the demand of your customer.