Currently, the inflation rate in the United States is at a 40-year high since June 2022, which means it has not been this high since the 1980s. Because of this inflation rate, consumer prices also increased by 9.1% and our country is not the only one affected by this bizarre reality. Economies all over the world are filled with increasing costs and spendings, especially concerning fuel, food, healthcare, and housing.
This data culminates to the reality that small and big businesses depend on buyers’ behavior, both practical and emotional, to make a profit. If prices are higher, then consumers might hunker down on their spendings or adopt smarter spending habits to stretch discretionary income/budget. On account of the fluctuating and unpredictable causations of inflation, the ecommerce industry is affected. However, there is a positive turnaround for ecommerce business owners who acknowledge, understand, and prepare ahead for uncertainty.
Acknowledging the problem is the first step in many resolutions. In this situation, you can acknowledge that inflation is unavoidable and that everyone is in the same boat. However, there is consolation even in this economic situation because inflation can influence businesses in a positive or negative way, depending on whether you are prepared for what might come ahead. Sometimes, that is hard to do as inflation is often an unprecedented reality. However, this article is here to offer insight into what inflation is and how its effect can be minimized for your business.
“Inflation is a phenomenon characterized by the general rise in prices for both producers and consumers, for some time. When the general price level rises, each dollar buys fewer goods and services; consequently, inflation reflects a reduction in purchasing power per dollar.” Therefore, as inflation increases, the value of the dollar decreases and there is more “empty” currency in circulation. Because the value of the dollar is diminished, necessities and other items are more expensive.
Depending on what type of product/item you are selling (essential or nonessential), there might be a demand. All industries have varying consumer demands. If you are selling baby formula, your demand will always be high and there are steps you can take to make sure that during an inflationary period, you have a reserve of inventory. If you are an ecommerce business owner, demand is a significant reality to keep in mind. This is an important thing to be aware of because it directly impacts the supply chain and fulfillment processes. Often, the fulfillment company you are working with will warn you that inventory is low and that more and more orders are being placed for your items: make sure that you have enough inventory ahead of time to keep up with consumer demand and with your manufacturer/supplier(s) production.
Below are some steps businesses can take to avoid or decrease the effects of inflation:
Raise costs. Keep an open eye for what your competitors are doing and observe their pricing and demand. Your price increase does not have to be abrupt, but it can be gradual to help consumers adjust. Because if the standard cost of the goods has increased, you will either have to absorb the increase or adjust the retail price. However, you can control your price increase by using a warehouse management system and evaluate all the variables involved to determine “when, how, and by what proportion to raise prices and do so in a way that positions you better than your competitors.”
Reduce material costs. Being more efficient is key. If you can find the materials you use now at a reduced cost from a different supplier, then it might be a good thing to switch suppliers. However, ensure that the quality of the materials is still suitable for your business even at a lesser cost. Correspondingly, you can also reduce material costs by buying in bulk.
Avoid the borrowing trap. Demand will eventually decrease, and if you have everything you need, there is no need to take a loan from the bank. In order to prepare ahead, you can borrow early at fixed interest rates.
General company cost reductions. You can evaluate all your company’s spending by noting where your costs are the highest. If there is any unnecessary spending, try to avoid that in the future by amending your company budget.