Launch of a phone with new upgrades? Customers will be excited to buy it.
Launch of a limited edition phone with new upgrades and design and packaging based on a popular superhero movie? Customers will love it, buy it and treasure it as a collectible.
Merchandising isn’t new but it has evolved. Brands see fluctuating product demands not just throughout the year but sometimes, from week to week. To attract customer attention, brands tie-up with movies, popular tv shows, comics, and video game franchises to build merchandise.
Even meme merchandising has garnered widespread attention. Recently, a clip of Kylie Jenner singing "Rise and shine" to wake her daughter, Stormi from a nap went viral and became an instant meme. Almost immediately, Jenner launched “Rise and shine” merchandise which sold-out almost immediately.
Understandably, demand for merchandise is unpredictable. Some merchandise might sell faster than others. Some might sell less than anticipated or it might never sell. In such cases, merchandise packaging can go out-of-stock, be overstocked or go to waste respectively.
So, you’re thinking, why does that matter?
Because, like any other product, merchandise can’t be sold without its appropriate packaging. During transport, packaging offers protection from damage and makes it easier to move across locations.
For merchandise, packaging also lends a unique authenticity to the product. Many fans around the world know and treasure action figures and other merchandise collectibles. In the market, an action figure will be worth much more if it’s in the original product packaging.
That’s why merchandise packaging planning needs to be smart and effective.
1. Out-of-stock merchandise packaging inventory can halt sales. With no packaging material available, products might not ship out and cause a delay in delivery hampering a customer’s experience. Once you alert your vendors, they will begin production and then transport it to the desired location. This might take up roughly 30 days, making your merchandise sit in the warehouse for a long time. Eventually, when the packaging material is finally stocked, the merchandise might have ceased to have any demand. Have a faster vendor discovery mechanism in place.
2. Like all the products, merchandise is a game of hit and miss. If the demand for the merchandise is considerably less than what you expected, then an overstocked packaging material inventory can cause a loss too. It’ll cost you to store and maintain the packaging inventory. If the inventory becomes obsolete, the inventory will have to be written off.
Often, demand forecasting is inaccurate for selling products, including merchandise. What you require is a packaging material supply that doesn’t significantly increase your budget.
Take, for instance, buying two packets of laundry detergent. While using one packet, you might keep one intact. Every time you use the detergent, you note how much is left. When the first packet is over, you immediately open the other packet and begin using that. Once the detergent level in the second packet begins to lower, you add it to your shopping list to buy more. This way, you are never out of supply.
You can apply this concept to product and merchandise packaging inventory as well.
A digital auto-replenishment model based on the consumption of packaging material can be your superpower. The digital packaging supply chain ensures 100% availability of material at low inventory. This also means that you will have to stock less and minimize dead packaging inventory.
During the buffer period, vendors can begin production of new inventory and stock merchandise packaging accordingly.