‘Tis the season to be jolly but you’re already worrying about what to do with all your products that feature snowflakes and skiers. Or maybe you currently have your hands full with pumpkin-spiced energy bars, which are still tasty and being bought but not nearly fast enough.
Before you panic, know that the reality of retail is that excess is unavoidable no matter how much you plan. You will inevitably end up in situations where you face expiring perishables (and trends!), limited or no more time left on a retailer’s shelf, challenges with logistics, stock sitting too long in warehouses, and waste in general. There are definitely ways to minimize loss.
So, how do companies end up with excess products?
There are a variety of reasons why overstock happens.
- Seasonal goods: Are you releasing special packaging for certain times of the year? In addition to inventory already stocked in your standard branding? That can lead to larger quantities being available without guarantee of increasing sales. In the case of perishables, companies release season-specific flavors and scents that need to move fast to stay relevant.
- Underwhelming demand at certain locations: Your products may be distributed equally among a retailer’s locations but inventory in certain areas is not selling as quickly as anticipated.
- Supply chain delays: The ripple effect of supply chain delays is real. If anticipated delivery dates get pushed back, originally planned-for quantities are no longer correct for the amount of time remaining to get products off the shelf.
- Retailer requirements: Some stores have rules about how long a product can be kept or what buffer expiration dates must have. For example, your product might no longer be stocked if it comes within 6 months of its expiration date.
What can companies do with excess and expiring products?
Turn expiration into activation through sampling! A sampling campaign with your slow-moving and obsolete goods will help you generate more revenue, reduce wastage, and even garner goodwill and feedback from customers directly. We want to maximize value recovery, not generate loss.
Sampling short-coded products is an additional revenue opportunity
For expiring and seasonal goods, sampling them reaps all the benefits of general product sampling: driving sales, engaging customers, and creating positive experiences associated with your brand. The bonus benefit with these products that urgently need to get in the hands of customers is that you’ll be able to reduce loss productively. If starting a sampling campaign seems daunting, find a partner who can help you execute quickly in all the locations you want to access. Recess, for one, has been able to deploy hundreds of thousands of samples nationwide in days for their clients.
Sampling short-coded inventory is responsible and sustainable
When stores won’t take products with upcoming expiration dates, some companies think that the best ways to deal with excess inventory is through discounts, donations, or disposal, but each of those options have real costs associated.
- Discounting may get some revenue back but too often can create an undesired consumer expectation that they should wait until prices drop or, if the discount is set too high, that the product is no good.
- Donating may make the company feel good but not always the recipients who could be overwhelmed by the volume, have to deal with disposal themselves, or find the products irrelevant to those they serve.
- Disposing of excess products directly produces waste.
Sampling allows you to give those short-coded goods additional purpose by landing them directly into customers’ instead of landfills, contributing to your corporate sustainability goals. As a bonus by-product, brand affinity grows for responsible brands. Though you may have chosen one of the other options before, turning to sampling is easy with the help of a turnkey solution like Recess.
Sampling short-dated and seasonal goods is fun for customers
Creating brand moments through sampling allows you to engage with customers in fun and exciting ways, ultimately driving more sales to both you and your retailers. You can get direct feedback, rewarding people who vote on whether to bring back a product next season and encouraging them to share positive reactions on social media. A vendor like Recess can get you in all the right places through their extensive partner network and identify sampling opportunities by audience demographic, lifestyle traits, location, and sampling capacity.
Last-minute sampling doesn’t have to feel last minute
Remember - excess, expiring, and seasonal inventory are inevitable. In fact, if you don’t have any, perhaps you’re not innovating enough! What matters is how well you manage it. Handle those challenges without breaking a sweat by using a turnkey sampling execution platform like Recess.