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Sheri Hebbeln
 
December 5, 2013 | Sheri Hebbeln

How to use inventory management as a strategic holiday advantage

December is a busy month for most wineries, with a high number of shipments and additional wine club memberships occurring. Carrying off a successful holiday season isn't possible without a solid inventory management strategy.

With the Internet and wine inventory software, managing supplies during the holidays doesn't need to be arduous or complicated. Being well-organized at the end of the year enables wineries to fulfill orders more quickly, which creates a positive experience for online customers. Without vigilant inventory tracking, wineries could run out of their most popular varieties during this crucial time of year.

One of the most common inventory problems wineries experience is adhering to compliance with the U.S. Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Incomplete inventory records can spell trouble in audits, the Houston Chronicle said. Not only is it necessary to keep up-to-date information, but this strategy can act as a competitive sales advantage.

Smarter inventory management creates more online wine sales opportunities
The more sales channels wineries add, the more complicated inventory management becomes. But accurately tracking supply levels through all outlets can facilitate direct-to-consumer sales and boost success, according to Multichannel Merchant.

It may seem obvious, but it's important to remember there's a finite quantity of particular types of wine. Unlike other industries, wineries can't order more supplies if they run out. It's especially critical to keep track of fulfillment for large orders. Running out of one type of wine while there are still outstanding orders can lead to a lot of lost business.

This is one of the reasons it's necessary to monitor order histories, which can reveal the most popular varieties. Many wineries experience seasonal fluctuations, and this allows managers better prepare for busy times of year.

Knowing the most popular types of wine can help wineries set up their online stores to increase bulk orders. By studying past ordering trends, if two different types of wine are commonly ordered together, wineries can encourage the trend even further by placing them near each other on the page, the source said. However, bundling won't be effective without the proper inventory management protocols in place. 

Inventory management tactics work as a way to move unsold wine as well as prevent shortages. If wineries have too much of a certain variety, they can create promotions to sell more of it. One effective way to do this is to offer winery visitors coupons to use on the website.

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