Author: Jackie Holbrook
Fall is a blur for people who work in the archery industry. Customers cycle through the shop doors looking for last-minute bow repairs and tune-ups. Technicians fill their days tying in peep sights, and cutting and fletching arrows.
Sales staff members stay busy outfitting hunters with broadheads, game calls and scent-blocking products. And if they’re lucky, these archery enthusiasts will get an opportunity to sneak off into the woods on a bowhunt of their own.
Hunting season is the busiest sales season for the archery industry. It quickly leads into the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season, another profitable time of year for archery shops. But it’s important to take the time to review what product you have left to sell. Taking a late fall inventory of product helps end the year strong and set up your business for a successful new year.
During the busy season, product is moving off the shelves at such a fast rate it’s tough to know the exact amount of product still left. Taking an inventory count answers that question.
Do an inventory check in November or early December to get your store prepared for the holiday season. Photo Credit: Bowhunters Superstore
Dakota Royer is the vice president of sales and marketing at Bowhunters Superstore in Wellsville, Pennsylvania. The company conducts an inventory count the first or second week of November. Royer says this timing is critical to the company’s success for the upcoming year.
“Every year is a different story,” Royer said. “That’s why doing an inventory count is key. You don’t know what went on over the last three months when everything was very heated up and really rocking and rolling.”
Knowing his product quantities prevents Royer from purchasing a surplus. If items are low or completely out of stock, he knows to order before the holidays. Royer always does an inventory count before Black Friday. If the shop has too much of an item, he uses Black Friday sales to his advantage.
Knowing what inventory you have will help you at the Trade Show. Go to hot shows for deals on inventory you still need. Photo Credit: ATA
Understanding what remains in stock and what’s missing at the end of the year helps retailers buy smarter at the ATA Trade Show Jan. 10 to 12 in Louisville.
“To get the best deals at the Show you need to know what you want and what you need to buy,” Royer said. “This information allows you to attend any hot shows or attend in-booth specials with the different vendors and take advantage of Show deals.”
Royer believes too few retailers capitalize on special Show pricing. He says that knowing what sold the previous year – and what didn’t – allows him to focus his buying. If inventory counts show an item sold well, he will talk to manufacturers at the ATA Show about getting the best pricing through Show specials or bulk orders. By programming the company’s orders, Royer is able to grow his margin.
“The whole year starts at Show season,” Royer said. “This is how you are going to offer all of your customers the best deals by taking advantage of the best deals at the Show.” Coming to the ATA Trade Show with a buying plan in place will benefit the budget and customer.
If you count your inventory in sections, you may be able to do it while your shop is open. Photo Credit: Havana Outdoors
While its extremely beneficial to business, taking an inventory count is time-consuming. Time is money, and the last thing most shop owners want to do is close for a day or two to focus on inventory. However, it’s possible to remain open for business and begin your count.
Conducting the count in sections will help. Start with the aisles that have the lowest sales and end with the busiest. Consider coming in before opening hours or staying an hour or so after close to inventory. Hiring temporary help for inventory purposes is another way to get the job done.
Having a point-of-sales software system in place like ePRO or Celerant Technology keeps the inventory count current. But if the shop isn’t equipped with the software to keep track of inventory, teach staff to manually update the information.
Buying is a balance. Too much inventory can lead to a loss due to markdowns, but too little can lead to lost sales. Keeping count of what’s in stock will help you make the best decisions for both your shop and your customers.
For more information about inventory-management best practices, contact Kurt Smith, ATA’s director of industry relations, at (717) 578-0736, or firstname.lastname@example.org.