How to Move Your Smoke Shop's Back Stock

by Ian Black
Shopping cart with boxes and arrow point up with text

Who likes stale bread? No one, right?

How about, who likes french toast? Everyone and their mother, that's who!

Now what if I were to tell you that… these are the exact same thing! Bwahh! Like, zoinks Scoob, have we been eating stale bread man!?!

Hold your horses there gang, this less than desirable rendition was just the humble origins of an ancient meal now enjoyed across the globe. Should you want the original stale bread version however, you can skip the time machine and go visit your local Denny’s.

But uh… what's this have to do with my Smoke Shop you ask? Well what if we took your Shop’s equivalent of stale bread - your back stock - and through a couple tricks of the trade transform it into something brimming with value, just like a plate of french toast!

That’s why in this GV Wholesale Business Introspective we are going to break down some strategies on how to dress up your back stock and get it out the door in no time!

Table of Contents:

Inventory Your Back Stock
Review Your Investment Costs
Relocate The Item
Go In On an Annual Holiday Sale
Bundles and Mystery Boxes
Breaking Even
Taking a Loss, But Winning the War
To Infinity and Back Stock

Man in blue shirt checking inventory inside warehouse

Inventory Your Back Stock

The first step is obvious, do a once over on your inventory and identify which items you are considering a part of your back stock. These will be items where you have a large amount of inventory but have not been seeing many sales over the past months to year.

Check how many you have of each back stocked item and make a record of it. Try using the notes app on your phone for easy access or take the time to create an online document using google sheets for precision calculations.

Your strategies on how to move the products will differ based on how many you have in stock, for example whether you have only a few left or a small army, will change your strategy on how to move them.

man in white shirt using calculator checking investments

Review Your Investment Costs

Knowledge is power, which is why once you have a handle on what your back stock is you need to keep track of three values: Investment Cost, Retail Price, Profit Margin.

Luckily for you these numbers are intertwined, to find your profit margin, simply take your Retail Price - Investment Cost = Profit Margin.

These three figures are going to inform the rest of your decision making, as your profit margin is pretty much the only value that you can actively control. In order to effectively move your back stock, then you are most likely going to have to eat into this profit margin.

Relocate The Item

Much like showing up to work dressed as the Crow in the middle of July, sometimes the root of the issue is simply the wrong place at the wrong time.

That’s why we recommend switching up where you have been stocking flagging items, to see if they are in the wrong part of the store and thus not getting the attention they would normally get.

Now not every product is going to do better, in fact most won’t. But it is a good option to try out before you start slashing prices. As you already have back stock, the clock isn’t exactly 3 seconds till the buzzer.

Take a moment to experiment before you start taking less profit, you never know how much money it could save you.

Another tip on product locations, is to examine what your flagging items are located next to. It may simply be a case of being overshadowed by the much flashier item or it appears redundant when you consider other accessory options.

Consider swapping the location to somewhere it can really shine on its own, in order to draw more attention towards it. This can be further boosted by announcing a sale…

woman in jean jacket next to black friday sign

Go In On an Annual Holiday Sale

Instead of throwing all of your back stock products on sale at the same time, hold some back to be used as special ultra sale items to boost the value of sales you’d already be running.

That way you can put them up for massive discounts when your next Holiday sale rolls around, putting the item for 50, 60, even 70% off.

These deals will move the product you had trouble selling all the while building hype around great deals at your shop, without actually risking anything.

This is very much making lemonade from a deck full of lemons, but customers will actually love it because it lets you take a vape or accessory that has been languishing on the shelf without a sale and get to dress it up in a fresh suit of “60% OFF” to catch attention where it otherwise would have gone to die.

Water Pipes and other Glassware together in a bundle inside smoke shop

Bundles and Mystery Boxes

Much like hiding your dog’s medicine in a spoonful of peanut butter, using bundles or mystery boxes are a great way to move your back stock with the helping hand of additional products.

For bundles, take a look at your back stock and see what other complimentary items would go well with it. You can then create special gift bags or ready 2 go smokers kits that include a host of items and the back stock you're trying to move.

Mystery boxes take this one step further, if a product isn’t popular then throw it in a box where customers don’t even know it's what they are getting. This isn’t done to trick customers, but to instead reintroduce them to the value of your back stocked product, by presenting them as just one part of a larger grab bag whole.

Receiving the item as part of a mystery box changes how people consider the value in their heads and offers an easy way for you to up the value of your boxes easily.

Breaking Even

When you have products sitting on the shelf doing nothing, your investment is effectively just gathering dust instead of profits. This is the worst case scenario as your money is tied up and you are left with a massive pile of unsellable inventory.

Sometimes it is better to lower your price through sales to move the products at a break even value. At least this way you can get your initial investment returned to you and can then spend that money on a different product with much more customer interest.

Should you find yourself against a brick wall and in need of more cash, then selling for a break even price point will at the very least get your seed money back to you and let you redirect those funds into items that will boost your bottom line instead of stagnating it.

70% sale sign inside store

Taking a Loss, But Winning the War

It’s time to dump your 25 year old significant other, because for this next session we are going to be stepping into the shoes of one Leonardo DiCaprio in order to implant a positive memory of wild discounts in the minds of your shoppers.

The idea here is to take a total flop from your inventory, throw up for a huge discount, and to make someone's DAY by giving them such a good deal. This both nets you a portion of your investment back and plants the seed of loyalty within your customers minds.

You want your customers to reminisce, “Remember that time Joe Blow’s smoke shop gave us all those extras as part of this awesome deal?”.

The best part is you hypothetically never even have to do it again, just the thought that it could happen is enough to drive customers in. They won't expect it, but it will be a subconscious trigger that makes them choose your shop over the next one down the block.

Then when you have more back stock that’s lagging or you feel particularly generous, throw the discount back out there and start the whole process again. Encore! Encore!

To Infinity and Back Stock

While having a large amount of back stock can appear to be a daunting issue, the reality is that if you use some strategizing and get creative then you can almost assuredly dig yourself out of this hole and maybe even make some money along the way!

There is no way to know for certain which products are going to be winners and losers, so don’t feel bad if you thought something would be the next beanie baby, only for it to end up less desirable than a free U2 album.

Taking risks is inherent to why your business succeeds, so please make use of any or all of our tips to help chip away at your back stock!

For more commentary and insights, be sure to check out the rest of our Smoke Shop Editor Columns here for insights into the legal mushroom gummy market and some tips on how to make sure your upcoming 7/10 Day is as profitable as possible.


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