This year Australian consumers will be less willing to spend big during the traditional end of financial year (EOFY) sale time, as surging cost-of-living pressures hit their family budgets. 

The EOFY sale can give retailers a huge financial boost to increase annual revenue, complementing the sales surge from the December festive period. Even at the best of times, if the sale season opportunity is not maximised, it will be months before a retail outlet can make up for lost time when the next season rolls around. That is why retailers need to prepare thoroughly to get the most of this year’s EOFY sale period. 

Here are five ways retailers can make the most of this EOFY sale season:  

  1. Put your house in order

It’s difficult to take the steps needed without first taking stock of the business – all of it. It’s important to gain insight into the entire business, such as supply chain, finance, staff, promotion and marketing, to identify areas for improvement.  

If every part of the business is operating optimally, it will be easier to plan effectively for the upcoming sale season, across resources, staffing, inventory and advertising. 

Detailed and up-to-date insights can be hard to achieve if the business relies on numerous, discrete paper-based processes. A full snapshot of the business can be hard to unpack from a drawer full of outdated files. However, with the right business management software in place, retailers can get the insight they need quickly.  

2. Get a grasp of inventory

It’s hard to sell something if it’s not in stock, so it’s important to get a handle on inventory levels early. Supply chains have been unpredictable during the past couple of years, and many are still recovering, leaving retailers short on stock.

In the lead up to sale time, retail businesses need to stock up on merchandise or risk running out of products on sale day. Good inventory management is essential, and it is important to have real-time visibility of stock levels, and forecasted insights based on historical trends. This will enable retailers to properly forecast and plan in the lead up to the EOFY sale. 

Inventory management doesn’t have to be a time-consuming, manual task. A good business management software suite enables retailers to keep a closer eye on inventory through real-time data and stock level insights in preparation for any peak sales period. 

3. Build on the ecommerce experience

While the retail industry has embraced online ecommerce, not all businesses online are making the most of digital sales channels.

Retailers can dig deeper into the available tools to optimise and connect their back-end systems, providing a seamless buying experience for customers online.

With a cloud-based, unified solution from the back office to the sales team, retailers can deliver real-time visibility of all customer, order and inventory data.

4. Automation is key

Manual processes can add substantial work hours that could otherwise be put to high value activities such as customer engagement or marketing. It’s always a good idea for retailers to identify processes for automation. 

If a retail business has online or offline sales systems that are connected to back-office operations, for example, then it can automate areas like order fulfilment, customer invoicing or payment processing, saving time and resources at each step.

Automating transaction flow and reducing manual data entry can also eliminate human error while improving time to value. Perhaps most importantly, automation can help retailers scale their operations cost-effectively.

5. Get real clarity of the financials  

For an industry that frequently competes on price, it’s essential to have accurate insight into financial performance across the business. With many retailers working with razor-thin margins, such visibility is essential in setting the right price points to be competitive.

Having the business’s financials accessible via a single view can inform and accelerate the decision-making processes around pricing. It is also important that real-time financial data is available, or a retailer’s pricing strategy may not be optimal.

If retailers keep close track of profit and loss, staffing costs, inventory costs and more, in real-time, they are more likely to make the right calls when it comes to competitive pricing. This, in turn, will better position them for success during the EOFY sale season.

These elements can help retailers maximise the opportunities offered by the upcoming EOFY sale season. With the right technology mix and common-sense approaches, retailers can make the most of consumers’ appetite to snag a bargain at the end of this financial year.

Jason Toshack is vice president & general manager at Oracle NetSuite Australia.