Marketers plan early for thoughtful discounting as costs increase

Retailers take note: Plan now for the holidays. Supplements retailer My Obvi is experiencing triple the lead times for receiving merchandise this summer compared with 2021.

“We’re figuring out how to move forward,” says Ashvin Melwani, chief marketing officer.

It’s not as though the retailer can easily switch manufacturers, Melwani says. Switching suppliers could impact the quality of its formula-specific recipe. If the consistency of the powder is different or it tastes slightly off, “it becomes a customer-service nightmare,” he says.

Melwani says the supplements brand is looking back at its two years of data to analyze trends and accurately project its sales so it can plan promotional strategy.

“We’ll order now so that we are ready to go by the holiday season,” he says.

And while he’d like his forecast to be on the mark, Melwani would rather sell out of its stock than have a surplus of inventory onhand. Supplements have a shelf life, and there’s a key balance between ordering enough to meet demand while not being stuck with excess product.

“If we happen to sell out, we sell out,” Melwani says. “It builds some hype for when the new year starts, and [when we expect] everyone is focused on health and wellness again.”

With longer lead times and other supply chain issues now commonplace, retailers must build into their holiday marketing plans what they will do if they run out of popular products, says Greg Portell, partner, global and Americas lead, consumer and retail at consulting firm Kearney.

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