You’ve probably worked with inventory long enough to recognize that predicting what will sell and what won’t can be very hard. It becomes necessary every time your shelves stack up with unsold products and you find yourself in debt for them. It’s a great thing but also problematic when you sell out of a product and there’s an unmanageable demand for more. So how do you best prepare for those situations?
However, one small aspect that can help is simply using the knowledge you have and whatever tools are at your disposal to predict buying and selling trends. Thankfully, the Internet and technology have left us with plenty of instruments to help with that.
It’s important to realize that the Internet is not the only place to get relevant information about buying trends. For instance, it may also be wise to speak with any supply chain managers you know from, say, ASU about buying trends they’ve seen over the years. Others’ experiences can teach you some things about consumers that computers cannot.
That said, you do have a lot at your fingertips with the Internet. So without further ado, here are some tips on how to use them and predict consumer trends so you don’t end up with more than you can chew.
Social Media Analysis
Social media campaigns that promote products record and automatically offer you analytics through the platform they’re posted on. Therefore they should be utilized to gauge responses to what products may do better and what won’t. You may also be able to tell if a product will do well or not depending on how well your marketing team is engaging customers and followers through on these channels. If customers are asking questions via social media and they’re not being answered, that’s a bad sign. If you don’t see your team posting regularly, you have a problem.
Social media marketing has been defined in the context of viral marketing as well — that is, social media marketing may serve the purpose of making a product or advertisement go “viral” — since a product’s popularity can grow overnight by being shared excessively across news feeds and social media. It’s the new word of mouth, essentially — to make a product go viral. There are always consumer trends in all markets, but consider looking at what kind of products are going viral already because it’s likely that your products of similar type may do the same and will sell better. Keep this in mind as you proceed in ordering your next round of products.
Using Google’s slew of online tools, particularly Analytics, you can track consumer behavior in detail, including traffic sources, times of visit, and visitor numbers. It’s one of the most important management tools of our day and age, but if you don’t have access to it, ask those who do if they can get you that relevant information. This will help you put together a good list of what you need, what needs more of a push to be sold, and what just won’t work altogether.
In your analysis of what pages seem to be working better than others, it’s important to analyze the touchpoints for those pages. The touchpoints are usually defined as any point of contact between buyers and sellers (thanks, Google), but CallRail points out three touch points to pay attention to: referring sources, successful content types, and your call-to-action language used as well as any button/link that allows users to take action. Again, it can be hard to predict trends if you don’t have access to analytics to view all of this, so it’s highly recommended you find the information in one way or another.
Going back to engagement, seeing how the content you produce around your products is received can be very telling. This isn’t just social media shares and comments, but the traffic engagement results you get in analytics, and any comments or actions taken on your website due to this.
It’s not always about what content is performing, but how it’s being presented as well. To boost the popularity and attractiveness of products, some companies, like Amsterdam Printing, are putting out interactive content — that is your online games, your interactive slideshows, your trivia quizzes, and the like. This hopes to bring not only new users to a website and spur monetary conversions, but to additionally keep them on the website longer. This, in turn, can result in dedicated and loyal customers and more products sold. If the companies you work with are using this content, pay attention to what products they’re promoting with it so you’ll know what may sell next.
How do you predict buying and selling trends? Let us know in the comments below!
Bio: Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world, especially when it comes to business, tech, and workplace safety. Comment or reach out @A_Taylorian with any questions or suggestions.