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Tue Jan 3 2012 21:40:53

Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?

By: Ina Steiner

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In December, I had an item in my Amazon shopping cart that I was going to buy as a Christmas present, but I wanted to see if I could find it from a small retailer. Time ran out before I could look for it locally, and I couldn't find the item from a small online retailer, so I went back to my Amazon shopping cart to complete the transaction. Unfortunately, I received the dreaded "Currently unavailable" message - Amazon had run out of the item before I could purchase it.

The item was not one of the hard-to-get toys or electronics - it was fairly ordinary (a kitchen tool for the cook in my life).

The experience got me thinking about the challenge retailers face in knowing how much inventory to buy for the holiday shopping season and the difficulty in working with suppliers.

Did you have enough inventory for the holiday shopping season? How do you balance the risk of running out of inventory versus the chancel you'll get stuck with too much?

And by the way, my shopping story has a happy ending. I was relating my experience to a family member who had time to drive to a specialty retailer near her where she found the item, so a small retailer got the sale after all!




Comments (10) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?   Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?

by: Gary Overton
Web Site

Wed Jan 4 04:36:01 2012

Inventory is seldom a problem for me.
Not enough buyers is a much bigger problem

Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?   Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?

by: anyone out there

Wed Jan 4 06:41:10 2012

Put my store on vacation the Sat before Thanksgiving and won't take it off until sometime this month. Spent a relaxing 45 days with the family enjoying the holidays.

Refuse to deal with all the scammers, bottom feeders etc that Fleecebay has now.

I had plenty of inventory. In fact my best customers know all they have to do is email me and I will get it for them.

S---w Fleecebay and their FVF's and whiners.

Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?   Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?

by: JackieBlue

Wed Jan 4 09:09:57 2012

For the most part, yes, we had enough inventory.  We looked at 2010 as our baseline and adjusted for expected change based on trends we are seeing.  We have found that having more inventory (if you can afford it) is better than less because their tends to be an opportunity cost with not having enough inventory.  We order our inventory in August and September.  Even with all of this planning we still ran short on some things.  Other things were available but didn't arrive until after the peak selling days.

Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?   Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?

This user has validated their user name. by: Bijoux Dragon
Web Site

Wed Jan 4 09:22:42 2012

On both my Christian Ridge Collectibles site and my Bijoux Dragon site I sell vintage and antique jewelry and silver smalls. I actually had customers this year and pretty much no problem with stock. My only inventory problems were people who either wanted to purchase dozens of the exact same piece (sorry but vintage pieces cannot be purchased in bulk) or wanted a piece they had seen earlier but had not yet purchased.  Unfortunately, one of a kind means that I have one.

On down side, increased sales were due to active, aggressive sales which I am having to continue this year too.

Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?   Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?

by: Ebay No More This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 4 09:23:04 2012

No I ran out of FBA inventory and Amazon FBA was a dismal failure this year. Besides UPS taking almost double the transit time to ship the boxes Amazon FBA staff let the shipment sit on a loading dock for another 8 days before finally checking the products back into stock. Next year I won't be using Amazon FBA during the holiday season. What a mess. Amazon FBA didn't have adequate staff to check in the merchandise.

Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?   Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?

by: Good Grief

Wed Jan 4 10:31:56 2012

Usually I close down for the month of December. However I did run auctions for the first week hoping to sell some jewelry. I had only 28 listings, 4 items sold, 2 of those were "lost" and ebay refunded the customer within 24 hours of them filing a claim, plus they filed less than 24 hours of delivery confirmation showed.  Hmm, what happened to 'contact the seller first'?

The old 'well dc shows it was delivered but NOT to me' scam, AGAIN. A foolish move on my part. Next December I will move jewelry to Etsy.

Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?   Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?

by: zvicki

Wed Jan 4 11:51:05 2012

Well, Kudo's to you Ina! For taking the time to find a ''small'' business person for your purchase!

If we all did that - we surely could help the economic mess many of us find ourselves in today.
I didn't do much online selling at all - instead I sold through the antique mall and with stunning results! It was a happy surprise!
The only thing I wished I had done was to include more holiday themed items earlier than I did - I waited until early Nov. to put those items in. And didn't have as much variety as I would have liked. I will start my hunt for holiday items earlier this year.

Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?   Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?

This user has validated their user name. by: TheUglySweaterShop
Web Site

Wed Jan 4 13:04:29 2012

This was our third holiday season for this store, but our 11th selling online so we knew what to expect.

We did get quite low on inventory when it came to Christmas sweaters, and had to restock our LED light kits 4 times in Nov/Dec, but we had the best season ever.

Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?   Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Wed Jan 4 20:56:28 2012

@Good Grief:

In defense of the buyers, there did appear to be an epidemic of package thieves out and about this year. We didn't seem have a day go by without hearing yet another story about people having packages stolen off their doorsteps. That's not to say there aren't scam artists out there, especially on eBay, but it's definitely possible that they were victims of these package thieves.

Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?   Did You Have Enough Inventory for the Holiday Shopping Season?

by: Treasure Journeys
Web Site

Thu Jan 5 09:56:08 2012

We did not have a problem with inventory this year.  We sell many items that are from local suppliers and can stock up on a weekly basis.  We also have suppliers that can drop ship or ship to us within 5 days.  We don't do alot of Christmas specialty items and therefore our items for the majority sell year round.



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