Every seller who is pro-active with his/her business online would love to showcase and sell unique seasonal products that bedazzle customers through multichannel retailing in the 21st century. Even though there are many calculated downsides to it, sellers look at the big picture, sales innovation strategies.
Top Selling Seasonal Products of 2018
- Sunscreen Lotion
- Spraying Mist
- Energy drinks
- Flip flops
For Winter/Holiday Season
- Warm active wear
- Winter lotions and moisturising creams for dry skin
- Shovels and ice picking tools
- Decorative Christmas bulbs
4 Big Challenges Faced by the Sellers of Seasonal Products
- The Demand and Supply Gape
- Lacking in Sales Leads to Stocking in Warehouses
- Risks and Workarounds
- Shipping, Handling, Delivery and Unsolicited Returns
Let’s try to explore these challenges in detail:-
The Demand and Supply Gape
Selling seasonal products can be a bliss or a miss for E-retailers. A bliss when there is consistent demand, with shipping and delivery processes in place and there is no shortage of goods. It is a miss if there is no timely supply in addition to the dearth of supply.
Inability to cater to specific buyer needs like size, color, quantity, material etc. that keep varying during peak seasons would open doors of opportunity for competing sellers. For example: selling leather products is a seasonal affair especially during fall or winter. If there is high demand for a certain color or size or edition but the procurement fails then it becomes a posing problem for sellers and their goodwill could be affected sooner.
Lacking in Sales Leads to Stocking in Warehouses
Similarly, when there is more stocking-up of unsold products after the season is over, it becomes an inventory nightmare and storage and maintenance costs soar up with every passing day until the season sales start again at the selling sites.
These products also become obsolete after some time, leading to lower or no demand and discarding by sellers. Seasonal products that have a stagnant presence also fail to stay on E-marketplace product pages which is not a good sign.
Risks and Workarounds
Seasonal products sales have many risks that have to be monitored during most life-cycle processes which are delineated below:
Procurement of seasonal products is challenging and risky since the desired stock may not be available at suppliers’ locations and the turn-around time for restocking could be beyond the threshold limit. This could ultimately lead to an ‘out of stock’ notification on the product page, sometimes even indefinitely.
Keeping storage options open is a good practice, but it could be extortionate if too many seasonal products are being handled simultaneously over a period of time, requiring special care. A feasible plan should be laid out for a majority of these products to get featured fairly and also to club products that have similar storage requirements. This helps in cutting down costs while increasing efficiency and product shelf-life.
Packaging of Seasonal Products
Packaging for each seasonal product is different and involves considerable brainstorming. Some products need butter wraps and loose packing, while others need highly structured compact packaging. Sellers who sell all kinds of seasonal products often face packaging dilemma. Either stocking too little of packaging material or too much of it makes packaging a daunting venture. If gift wrapping is requested by the customer, then things can get dizzy due to the associated costs. Read more on guidelines for effective product packaging.
Packaging of seasonal products to keep them intact is tricky and expensive. It is always a good idea to estimate the packaging requirements as soon as the order is received and keep alternative, reliable packing material handy in case sellers fall short of the primary packaging material. A study of past orders of regular customers and the seasonal product demand patterns keep the sellers ready for the storm. A pre-order sum-up for each type of seasonal product can also serve the purpose of mitigating packaging risks. Material costs go down occasionally at the distributors’ end which serves as a capitalizing opportunity for sellers to buy more packaging material.
Shipping, Handling, Delivery and Unsolicited Returns
Seasonal products demand high shipping standards and carefully curated handling techniques. Delivery of these products undamaged and untampered to customers is the ultimate golden thumb-rule of every marketplace seller failing which negative reviews and unrewarding feedback follow like dark shadows. Storing summer products in cool transit receptacles during transit, for example, is quintessential for better customer response to the products and their sellers. Anything delivered in an unacceptable form may lead to product returns to the seller and further wastage of storage space through restocking. Unsolicited returns by customers can be painful in many ways and will force upon the seller to give a valid explanation or redo the entire process from scratch to regain the customer’s confidence.
Here are some of the popular tips to minimize the impact of the challenge ‘Shipping and Unsolicited Returns’:-
- A perfect workaround would be the implementation of effective and tested packaging techniques covered in our blog story for packaging.
- Handling of outbound and inbound shipments need to be handed over to reliable and renowned companies that give sellers insurance cover as well as sign up an agreement to handle and deliver the products safely to the designated customer(s).
- But, safety begins at home so damage proofing and optimal labelling are not to be neglected whatsoever by sellers.
- Strict accounting and tallying of inbound products with air bill invoices and timely reporting of any damages to the sender makes things easier for sellers.
- Anomaly stickers are to be posted at cargo receiving ports in case any damage or tampering is done to packages and these packages have to be sealed separately
- The best way to ensure prevention of loss and damage to products and ultimately the return of the ordered product is to select qualified individuals to manage the process. Providing clear direction through training manuals and reference guides can reduce the damage to quite an extent.