After a devastating 2020, Tanning Season is back in full swing and 2021 is looking to be a record-breaking year for tanners and retail sales! While we all try to move towards a sense of normalcy, we must remember that the pandemic has changed the way we all do business in ways we never imagined.
Covid has had many lasting effects and manufacturing and distribution are not immune.
- Forecasting the number of products to produce this year has been a challenge due to disrupted historical sales data from 2020 causing backorders.
- Components used in packaging and raw materials shortages are causing more vendor backorders than in years past.
- Combine that with the fact that they too have struggled with staffing this season means that products that would have usually shipped in a few days may take a week or longer.
- Even if they are ready to ship, they are still at the mercy of Trucking and Shipping Companies that are delaying deliveries upwards of 4-5 days in some cases.
Manufacturer delays are not the only thing that may keep you from getting products. There are some challenges at the distribution level that may affect you also.
- Small parcel carriers like FedEx, UPS, and the United States Postal Service have also experienced significant delays due to online ordering being at an all-time high during Covid.
- Trucking companies have also experienced the same delays because of quarantines, lack of staffing, and high demands.
So, what can you do as a business owner to keep your shelves full during this crucial time?
- Order more and less often. We are seeing a trend where salons are ordering less but 2-3 times per week and items are delayed due to shipping. Instead, plan ahead by purchasing in case amounts and ordering enough for several weeks.
- Do not wait until the last minute to purchase – knowing there are delays – incorporate those lead times in your ordering patterns for the time being.
- Order early in the day so your order is printed and processed early to ensure shipping out the door.
- Plan ahead in your marketing and promotions by a minimum of 1 month – to be better prepared – order UP on any items you may be putting on sale.
- Streamline your retail options. Too many options might confuse the consumer and your staff. Focus your effort and investment on more qty of several products, vs. lower qty of numerous options.
- Have items shipped to your salon vs your residence. We are noticing further delays if zoned residential.
- Sunless and Sensitive Inventory – make sure you are turning and rotating all items that have an expiration date – bringing the older items from that back to the front and restocking from the back. Heartland takes great care in your products by frequently checking expiration dates and storing them in a temperature-controlled environment. When temps start to rise it is better to order early in the week to ensure your solution does not end up sitting on a hot truck over the weekend waiting to be delivered.