2021 Holiday Inventory Update
Since March of 2020, we have seen a dramatic spike in online sales leaving manufacturers & distributors at a disadvantage. No one could have predicted how greatly this would affect our global supply chain, even still, almost 2 years later.
Businesses that were forced to close their doors in 2020 are now thankfully back up & running, but they are still continuing to play the catch up game. This means that regardless of the number of each product we order, the manufacturers & distributors are simply not able to keep up with demand. Each time we place an order from a vendor, we receive only a percentage of the number of units we request because of global limitations in product availability.
We know how frustrating this can be as a budding or even established store owner. There is no time to constantly be worrying about stock issues in an era where customers are used to getting what they want at almost lightning-fast speeds. In order to better serve our partners in the 2021 holiday season we have implemented an update in our CustomCat App, along with other behind-the-scenes updates, that will allow you to better monitor products within your store that may suddenly become out of stock.
What has CustomCat done to prepare for these expected stock interruptions?
- We have increased the amount of inventory and the frequency of restock orders for all apparel.
- We have invested and secured an increased supply of dye-sub products (drinkware, ornaments, blankets, etc.) & do not expect stock interruptions with these products.
- We have updated the CustomCat app to show more detailed stock statuses in the Error Queue and API (see below).
- We have added a setting in the CustomCat app: automatically process resolved stock errors.
What happens when an item on my order is out of stock?
During order processing, if any item on your order is out of stock or unavailable, the order will not process and will show in your Error Queue.
Out of stock orders in your error queue will now show more detailed statuses:
“Stock on the Way” means the stock is in transit to our facility & we will have the ability to fulfill your order within the next few days.
“Temporarily Out of Stock” means this item is out of stock with our distributors at the moment. As soon as we’re able to secure stock from our distributors, the status will change to “Stock on the Way”
“Discontinued” means this item has been discontinued either by the manufacturer or by CustomCat.
“Awaiting Processing – In Stock” means this item is now back in stock and is ready to process.
Automatically Process Resolved Stock Errors
By default, CustomCat will automatically process resolved stock errors from your error queue every 4 hours. This means we can now automatically process orders from your error queue once additional stock arrives. You can turn off this feature by toggling the option to “No” in your Settings > Orders.
Please note – Orders cannot be processed until stock for that order is in the building & scanned into our inventory (Status: In Stock). Even if stock is expected to be delivered that day (Status: Stock on the way), it cannot be processed.
This setting can be adjusted at any time in your Store Settings as pictured below.
So what can you do?
- Monitor your error queue daily for OOS orders. Get familiar with the Out of Stock Errors and what they mean.
- Products with “Stock on the Way” status are likely to have replenished stock in the next few business days, and it might be worthwhile to wait for the stock to return.
- Products with “Temporarily Out of Stock” status are likely to take longer to replenish and you may want to consider swapping to a comparable style.
- Determine backup apparel styles in the event of OOS to facilitate efficient product substitutions.
- If you are selling apparel, focus on primary colors & standard sizes. The less common a variant, the more likely it is to go out of stock at some point this holiday season — mills have prioritized production of their best-selling items.
- Add dye-sub products with stable inventory to your store (drinkware, ornaments, blankets, etc.).
- Encourage your customers to shop early. It will help avoid delays caused by supply chain backlogs and labor shortages.
- Monitor average fulfillment speeds of the products you’re selling to help you determine appropriate holiday cutoff times for your store.
- Monitor our inventory spreadsheet. In order to provide more information about product availability, we have created an inventory spreadsheet containing the most popular items & their stock status. This spreadsheet is not meant to act as a live accounting of our inventory — it is manually updated each day at 9am. However, it has continued to provide a valuable reference point for many sellers when making substitutions for OOS SKUs. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_rwsOVdjX29fpcsIbfCi8xFL-rBm6Uyh7WSotyZqP5M/edit?fbclid=IwAR0ainEuM28ibYnhGPW2QMOwdcEKoetS_ZwOJhQy66vQM3_ZAB8OM-McX94#gid=0