If you’ve ever spent hours on a stock take, you know it’s a hassle. Whether you manage a team of retail sales superstars, or basic day-to-day product use, inventory management is a regular and necessary aspect of salon and spa life.
According to the 2023 Beauty and Wellness Benchmark Report, top-performing spas and full-service salons included a retail product on more than 20% of service invoices. That’s a lot of additional sales.
If you’ve made retail sales a significant part of your revenue strategy, it’s worth spending some time mastering inventory management – or you risk becoming a victim of your own success, stuck in the stock room.
Effective inventory management is crucial to ensure you have the right products at the right time to meet your clients’ needs. With today’s technology automating parts of the process, you can make retail inventory management less of a chore than ever.
In this post, we discuss three strategies to save your team hours on stock takes, reduce ordering errors, and maximize your retail profits. You’ll also see the story of a medspa brand that reinvented its inventory with great success.
Strategy #1: Establish an efficient ordering system
Placing stock orders in the traditional way is both time-consuming and error-prone: Staff takes note of low stock in one system (or with pen and paper), and then re-enter the required numbers manually when placing a purchase order with the retail vendor.
Technology can speed up the process. Utilize salon and spa management software to track stock levels and automatically generate purchase orders for required items. An integrated software system should pull information directly from your current inventory levels, eliminating the need for double entry – and minimizing time spent checking for errors.
For businesses with multiple locations, a centralized system can save you hours every month. With central inventory records, staff can oversee inventories for all stores in one place, review stock orders, view inventory movements, and send stock between stores if one location is running low.
Here’s how salons and spas use Zenoti to save time with inventory management:
- Automatically generate purchase orders.
- Send purchase orders directly from their system to the vendor.
- Centralize inventory management for multiple locations.
Strategy #2: Regularly review inventory levels
If you rely on busy staff to communicate when products run low, you risk an inconsistent product supply. Regular inventory reviews help you stay on top of potential shortages and overstock situations.
To ensure consistent stock management, try appointing a designated staff member. You can also create a rolling schedule across your staff for monitoring inventory levels and placing orders.
Utilize technology to save time – today, most salon and spa software systems like Zenoti can track your inventory digitally. Ensure your system is set up to track both retail and professional product use and train staff on how to check products in and out accurately. Ideally, the software system should utilize usage data to predict future stock levels and have safeguards in place to notify staff when stock is running low.
Here’s how to save time with Zenoti:
- Get automatic alerts when stock is running low.
- Use smartphones to scan items during stock counts.
- Automatically update stock levels when there’s a new delivery.
- Compare expected and actual stock levels, and track areas of shrinkage.
This May, the Zenoti stock ledger becomes a catch-all inventory report with filters for the vendor, category, sub-category, business unit, transaction type, purchase price, and perpetual average.
Strategy #3: Prepare for the future
One of the keys to effective retail management is having the knowledge that can inform decisions on which products to keep, discontinue, or promote. This can be done by reviewing your sales and product use data to identify trends, top sellers, and slow movers.
You might notice patterns that indicate seasonal fluctuations or shifts in consumer demand – like an increase in sun protection products during the summer months. Insights like these help you plan ahead so you don’t run out of product when demand increases above usual levels.
To stay ahead, you should also establish clear communication channels with suppliers to ensure you’re the first to know about changes in product availability, pricing, or shipping delays. The benefits are twofold: You’ll be able to proactively address any potential issues. A good relationship with suppliers could earn you exclusive deals, discounts, and new product samples.
Here’s how you can save time with Zenoti:
- Get comprehensive reports on per-store product sales.
- Use analytics to identify trends and popular products.
- Set up marketing campaigns to promote slow-moving products.
An inventory success story
As a rapidly expanding business, 16-location medspa group Skin Renewal was struggling to manage its significant inventory. Staff lacked insight into stock levels, causing backlogs and problems with order fulfilment.
Skin Renewal used the Zenoti all-in-one platform to centralize inventory management, streamline ordering and reporting, and simplify stock transfer between branches.
The result: Skin Renewal saves 525 hours each month on inventory-related tasks – time now spent serving clients and driving the business forward.
The beauty and wellness industry has seen considerable innovation in inventory management in recent years. Thanks to business management software automating parts of the process, salon and spa teams can finally ditch endless manual stock checks and error-filled purchase orders.
If you’re starting your business from scratch, setup may take some time: You’ll need to record your products accurately in your system, and train your staff adequately to manage it. But once inventory management becomes second nature, inventory headaches will be a thing of the past.