Why Marketing and Inventory are Intrinsically Connected

You might think that the folks who handle your supply chain and logistics should be the only ones concerned with inventory, but you’re wrong.

Your inventory, whether it’s t-shirts, mobile phones, hotel room nights, or seats in your restaurant, is intrinsically connected to your marketing strategy, or at least it should be.

The state of your inventory tells you what to sell. For instance, say you own a local restaurant. You have a certain number of seats to fill every night - an optimum number based on the number of tables, your opening hours, and how long it takes the average customer to get through a meal without feeling too rushed (or ignored). 

There's a restaurant not to far from me where the owners have mastered the art of managing seating inventory well. First, they noticed that their weekends could be a little better. They had entertainment on Saturday nights, so they added it to Fridays. They are only a block or two from a local theater, so then they added a pre-theater menu on show nights. Their Sunday brunch was already busy, so they worked on making service more efficient so they could serve more people.

Weekends taken care of, they looked at the week. Thursdays filled up after they began advertising some great happy hour specials, most of which they already had in place. Wednesdays are packed thanks to trivia night. Tuesdays, they do a seafood special, and Mondays they're the place to be, thanks to half-price burgers. 

Everything they do is promoted on their web site, their Facebook page, and they regularly advertise in the local paper. They also make sure their pages on sites like Yelp, Menupages, Urban Spoon, and MerchantCircle are updated with the current menu and specials, and that they read all the reviews and respond if needed.

Thanks to the fact that customers know there's a good deal or some great entertainment around no matter what night they come in, the place is reliably busy - they are making the most of the inventory they have available, making sure that those empty seats are filled, rather than wasted. They've even hired a few new people, creating badly needed jobs.

Your takeaways:
  • Look at what you have available, and sell that.
  • If something you have is great, but isn't selling, try promoting it in a new way. 
  • For inventory that's selling well, find ways to sell more.
  • Always look for ways to make happy, loyal customers even more happy and loyal. 
Have an inventory problem? Let me know. I can help.

How are you making the most of what you have available? Tell me in the comments.

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