When you run a product business, one of your top priorities is to, of course, increase sales. However, this can be a double-edged sword when you receive a sudden spike in demand.
While it is great to see interest in your business and product range increase, you still need to be able to keep up with the orders. Otherwise, you are going to find yourself falling behind and disappointing your customers, who may decide that it is worth taking their business elsewhere.
So, check out this list of some of the ways to deal with increasing demand at your company.
Anticipate Spikes Before They Occur
Rather than being caught off guard by spikes in demand, you should be ready for them as best you can.
Spikes in product demand can occur for a number of different reasons. It may be due to a certain popular time of year approaching like Christmas. Perhaps you are having a sale on some of your products. It could be that you are launching a brand-new product range.
While it may seem easy to anticipate and cope with these spikes, you still need to put in place the logistical means to ensure that all your orders are fulfilled. This requires good communication with your suppliers and delivery partners, as well as speaking with your staff members to perhaps let them know that overtime will be required over the coming weeks and months.
Use Historical Data Wisely
If you have run a business for a while, you should be able to access your historical data and use it in a way to anticipate future trends.
For example, you may find that there are certain times of the year when your business experiences a sudden spike in demand. Of course, there may be some spikes that don’t occur on a regular basis such as those that happen as a result of marketing campaigns or one-off sales, but if you keep good company records, you should be able to determine whether or not this is the case.
Using your past data can also help you to learn from any past errors and put in a place a more robust system that serves you better in the future.
Follow Industry Trends
As well as analyzing your own data, you should also cast an eye over the wider trends of your industry to determine if there are any lessons you can learn from them.
As well as the general statistics regarding annual product sales, you should also seek to follow any spikes in sales that can be led by special events or items in the news.
You should also do this on a closer level relating to your business. For example, if you have recently conducted a PR and marketing campaign and your products have featured in any kind of media.
Scale up Your Web Hosting
When you run an online business that experiences a spike in demand, it is particularly important that you have the web capacity to deal with the increased traffic that you are bound to get as a result.
If your new customers come to a website that is not properly functioning, there is every chance that they will give up after a couple of attempts. In the modern world, people are easily distracted and will not accept waiting a long time for technology to work.
Ideally, you will choose an appropriate web hosting service right from the start, so you don’t have to go through the time and effort of switching. Contact your hosting provider to let them know that a sudden spike is on the way. This way, your host is fully aware of the problem and won’t have to be reacting to it retrospectively.
Get Your Stock Ready
There is no point in making a big song and dance about a sale or a new product release if customers can’t actually get their hands on anything!
Therefore, you should make sure that you get the extra stock ready and raring to go. If you have a separate manufacturing partner, you need to get in touch with them early to up your initial order or let them know about a possible spike in demand.
If you take care of the production side at your end, you need to get your team briefed and your equipment ready. This may involve upgrading your conveyor belts, as well as giving everything a final maintenance check. The last thing that you want is for any breakdowns to occur when you are trying to sell more products. While you may have an estimated number of sales in mind, you also need to make preparations in case the level of demand exceeds this even further.
Keep Your Customers in the Loop
As well as keeping your suppliers informed of any spikes in demand, you should also inform your customers as this could end up having an impact on them too.
If you let them know that delays in their orders are expected, they know what to expect right from the start.
However, if the delays come unexpectedly, this is where problems can arise and people can get frustrated. If you are unlikely to hit a delivery deadline, you should get in touch with customers at the earliest possible opportunity to explain the situation. Letting your customers know that stock is limited can also help to create greater urgency and perhaps even increase demand.
Monitor the Situation
As the spike in demand is occurring, you need to be on top of the situation right from the get-go to put out any fires as they occur.
A good adage to live by is hope for the best and plan for the worst. If you get through a sudden spike in demand with no issues at all, it is close to being a miracle! If you are working on your own it can be a particular challenge, but if you have a team of people, delegation will help.
Everyone needs to be on the same page and good communication is vital. There are a few crucial areas to keep on top of including the current rate of production, the shipping status of orders, the status and speed of the website, and any queries or complaints from customers. If you have already envisioned some of the issues occurring beforehand, this helps to ensure that you are ready to react to them.
Temporary or Permanent?
There are a couple of situations that could occur here. It may be that your spike in demand is temporary and driven by a transient event like a flash sale or you could be dealing with something altogether more permanent.
If the spike has been temporary, you should be able to return to your normal processes, while still being ready to meet rising demand if and when it should occur again. However, if you are dealing with something more permanent, you need to be ready to put in place your changes swiftly and on a more solid basis.
Learn for Next Time
Experiencing a sudden increase in your sales can be a highly pressurized moment for your business, and there will probably have been some mistakes along the way. What is important is that you go back and learn from these errors so you can put them right for next time.
The hope is that things will be a little closer to being perfect. Of course, you may well find that other issues spring up next time, but this is the nature of running a business in which the problems can change from day to day! However, the ability to learn from your mistakes will make you a better businessperson and ultimately run a company with more efficiency and skill.
Whether the increased demand in product sales occurs due to an event that you have organized or the simple increase in popularity of your brand, you need to be ready to react to the spike and deal with it in the best way possible. A big part of this involves doing the groundwork and ensuring that all the possible preparation is put in place to ensure that it goes smoothly.
You need to be working with your staff and suppliers as one – keeping a good flow of communication between all of you. At the same time, you should inform your customers and keep them up to date with the situation. The better the preparation you have done, the more effectively that you should be able to cope with spikes in demand. During the increased demand, you need to keep a level head as best you can to cope with it.
Your work is not done here. In the end, you also need to assess the situation to determine whether you coped with it in the best way possible or whether there are any improvements that you could make to improve your processes for next time and offer a better experience.