Rotating Stock FAQ

The stock in any store should be in a schedule of regular rotation. Many wholesale suppliers will work with your business in easing this process for all of the different forms of rotation, but generally it will be up to you to implement your own rotation system. Keeping your stock rotated will help boost sales, ensure the least possible amount of spoilage and keep your store looking its best.

What are the types of stock rotation?

Essentially, stock will be rotated in three different ways: on the shelves, on the display and in the backroom. Each of these rotations involve a different concept of what will be done with the inventory, as well as entirely different reasons that they might be done. Regardless of the type of establishment you have, if you have any kind of retail or perishable stock, then you should fully understand rotation and its impact on sales.

Why should stock be rotated on the shelves?

The simplest and most straightforward reason for rotating stock on shelves-that is, moving old stock to the front of the shelf and placing new stock behind it-is to prevent the stock from outdating. Even non-perishable items can eventually start to look old and worn if they sit on the shelf too long or can accumulate dust. Packaging that is exposed to natural sunlight will fade over time in especially slow-selling products. The best practice is to completely remove the older items from the shelf when new stock comes in and wipe down the shelf space and the older packages to make sure that they are clean. Place new stock toward the back of the shelf, then replace the older stock at the front of the shelf, ensuring that they will be grabbed first when someone wants to buy the item.

Why should backroom inventory be rotated?

Whether you get slow-moving stock out of your store through sales or by sending it back to your supplier, you must have a schedule for how long you will keep any given item in the backroom. Components may get old or stale, the packaging may become outdated or, depending on the type of stock, new versions may come out while you still have the old one sitting in inventory. Keep a record of when a shipment comes into your store, and make sure that your supplier knows that you wish to be notified about any impending changes in stock offerings so that you can plan your backroom rotation.

Why is stock rotated around modular displays?

Every major retailer does it, and many customers complain about it-switching around the entire modular display on a regular basis. If so many customers express displeasure over this practice, then why does everyone do it? Because, as a business owner, your job is not to worry about what a small number of malcontents have to say about your rotation practices; your job is to do what makes sense in terms of sales. Numerous studies show that changing modular displays dramatically boosts the level of sales. It may take customers a few more seconds to find the product they want, but in that time they may see other products they had never noticed before. That little bit of extra time in front of the shelf is good for business, and it's worth working into your rotational schedule.

People also get tired of seeing the same old products on the shelf every time they visit. Don't be afraid to try new products every now and then, and ask your customers what they want that they can't currently get from you. As with everything in the business world, test out some different rotational strategies to see which one results in the best sales outcome.

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