December 27, 2018

What To Do With Excess Seasonal Inventory

*As we take a short holiday break, we’re re-sharing some of our favorite and most timely articles.*

No matter how well you track your sales, forecasting how much to make is never an exact science. If you tried to forecast how much of your shelf-stable product to make for the holiday season – especially if it’s a holiday-centric product or in holiday packaging – you could very well find yourself with extra inventory on hand. With the holidays behind us, what can you do with that inventory?

Here are 5 ideas – though keep in mind that shelf stability, your business model, etc will help determine which of the following is feasible, if any.

1. Repackage for something less seasonal
Depending on your product and how it’s packaged, you may be able to make the packaging look less festive than before. This could include repackaging the product entirely or simply removing the festive elements from your packaging. Keep in mind that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner so you may be able to turn a holiday ‘red’ into a Valentine’s ‘red’ without too much repackaging.

2. Repackage as samples
Your product may not be able to be repackaged and sold but is there the option to repackage it into smaller package sizes (or no packaging it all) and give it out as samples. This could be free samples at a retail store/pop-up/food truck, samples included with retail orders so that customers can get a taste for what else you have to offer, or samples to buyers. If the product itself is just too holiday-centric, you can still give it to customers (assuming no shelf-stability issues) with something along the lines of ‘A holiday treat for the person who helps make the holidays magical.’ Ok, maybe that’s not the best marketing line you’ve heard but based on what you know of your customers, you can use those samples as a way to thank them and make them feel special.

3. Markdowns/clearance
It’s no secret that the post holiday season is a time of markdowns and clearance sales and you can certainly follow the same tact. Put your excess holiday products on sale and see if you can move some of that inventory even if you’re only making minimal profit on it.

4. Toss it
After all the work you put into creating the product, it can be painful to have to toss it but sometimes that’s the best business decision. If so do this, make sure to consult with a CPA to determine the best way to expense it which may help bring down your overall tax liability.

5. Donate it
Another option is to donate your product to a food shelter, homeless shelter, or any number of venues which help feed people in need. Once again, work with a CPA to make sure that all your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed (for example, you need to work with a registered nonprofit in order to be able to claim it as a donation for business tax purposes).

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