Christmas Trees Face an Inventory Management Dilemma

Do you know how long it takes to grow a Christmas tree? A year? Two, maybe? No, it takes eight years to grow one. That’s incredible! What a huge investment of time and money. How would you like to be in charge of planning your inventory eight years into the future? That would be a pretty nerve-wracking job.

Risky Business

Christmas trees growing in a field, Fishbowl BlogA Wall Street Journal article points out one of the dangers of trying to plan that far ahead: “When consumers do buy real trees in today’s tough economy, they’re opting for shorter, less expensive ones – often four feet or smaller – which are less profitable for growers. A persistent oversupply of trees has also held prices down in the past several years, as the current crop was optimistically planted during the economically robust times of the early 2000s.” (Emphasis added)

A Christmas tree is probably the ultimate perishable item. Not only do growers have to cut the trees down in order to ship them to customers, but they have to sell them in a narrow timeframe somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. That doesn’t leave much room for error when it comes to delivery times and inventory management.

Two Solutions

What can tree sellers do to mitigate these problems? Here are two ideas: use Fishbowl’s inventory management software and add artificial trees to your mix of items for sale.

Inventory management software lets you track shipments, monitor how many trees you have in stock, and even see trends in consumer buying habits. It’s pretty tough to look eight years ahead and make concrete inventory plans. But if you have access to a great deal of information on your customers’ previous buying habits, you’ll be able to make a more accurate decision than if you trust intuition or limited data.

Artificial trees are becoming much more popular, as people seek ways to cut costs and find a solution that’s permanent and doesn’t require any cleanup or disposal. They seem like much more attractive options for Christmas tree sellers, as well. They don’t take eight years to produce, they can be modified depending on customers’ preferences in a given year, and they won’t die like real trees after being chopped down.

Be Flexible

The Christmas tree industry could look much different in just a few years. Will real trees remain dominant or will artificial trees become the norm? It’s hard to tell, which is why tree sellers need to be flexible and not put all their eggs into one basket. Sign up for an inventory software demo to see how Fishbowl can help you make smart business decisions now and in the future.

And have a merry Christmas!

About Robert Lockard

Robert Lockard is a copywriter with Fishbowl. He writes for several blogs about inventory management, manufacturing, QuickBooks and small business. Fishbowl Inventory is the #1-requested inventory management software for QuickBooks users. Robert enjoys running, reading, writing, spending time with his wife and children, and watching movies. His favorite movies include Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Fiddler on the Roof, Back to the Future and Lawrence of Arabia.
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