When you decided to strike out on your own in the pet industry, you probably didn’t spend your time daydreaming about how you would handle inventory. It’s not the most rewarding part of owning a business, but taking stock of what’s in stock is critical to your shop’s health. Knowing what’s on hand, what’s missing, what sold out and what didn’t sell at all will only help you make better plans for the future. It also may uncover theft issues and missed sales opportunities too.
It’s a daunting task. Among the pet industry experts we have on staff here at Pet Boss Nation, we’ve counted our fair share of dog food bags, squeaky toys and bottles of flea shampoo. And there’s one inventory tip we all agree on…
Close your pet business and do it all in one day.
Our founder and Head Pet Boss, Candace D’Agnolo, likes to tell the story of the first time she did inventory at her store whenever we talk about the importance of having a good plan in place. She recruited a few family members, bought a brand new pack of highlighters, handed out 400 pages worth of merchandise lists, and started working. It didn’t take long for her to realize that hunting for individual items, page by page, while continuing to help customers was going to take a while.
In fact, it took a whole week, and she’s still not convinced she actually finished. We don’t want you to make the same mistake. That’s why we recommend doing inventory in one day, and we’ve put together a step-by-step guide for you to reference, like the pet industry pro that you are.
Step 1. Aim for a First of The Year Inventory
You’ll need to know your end of year count for tax purposes anyway, so closing up shop on January 1st or shortly thereafter is a good way to start the year off on the right foot. If a first-of-the-year inventory isn’t possible for your pet care business, simply deduct any receiving on or after January 1 from your inventory total, add back in the inventory you sold after that date, and you’ll have your December 31 number.
Step 2. Let Your Staff and Customers Know
Once you’ve decided when inventory will occur, let your customers know your store will be closed and get your team excited to help. It takes a group effort, so get creative with making the task fun and enjoyable for your team. Order in lunch or snacks. Let your team pick the playlist. Or create fun benchmarks to celebrate throughout the day.
Step 3. Decide on the Pet Industry Tech You’ll Use
Use barcode scanners, laptops or other technology to speed up the process. Even legal notepads will work for writing things down. Make sure to stick with whatever method you choose.
Step 4. Start Counting
Count everything you physically see first, working your way through the store section by section. This count is what goes into your point-of-sale system. You don’t need to print out any merchandise lists at this point because your POS system will calculate any discrepancies for you once you add in your inventory numbers. Then you can go looking for missing stock.
Step 5. Go the Extra Mile
This is our second best inventory tip and for a good reason. While you’re going to the trouble of counting your stock, look at expiration dates, quality of packaging, consistent pricing and other issues that might need your attention. We see a lot of furry, four-legged traffic in the pet industry, so make notes of any displays that might need to be spruced up later or assign one person on your team to tidy up behind the counting crew.
Step 6. Celebrate When You’re Finished
As we said, a one-day inventory is an exhausting feat, but it’s well worth it to not having lingering binders of merchandise lists hanging over your head for weeks at a time. Once you finalize your count lists, file everything away in the appropriate spot, and take a load off because you earned it.
Now that you know our best inventory tip (and how to implement it), do you have other pet care business problems that need to be solved? Our Pet Boss Mentors offer one-on-one coaching in marketing, finance, retail merchandising, social media and more. And they can’t wait to meet you and help you conquer the pet industry. Schedule a Pet Boss Mentor session and stop working like a dog today!
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