Forecasting how much demand there will be for a particular product isn’t always easy. Social media like Facebook and Twitter can help in that process, says Carolyn Kaster of Ordoro, a web store order management software company.
Carolyn wrote a guest blog on this subject:
If you’re trying to figure out how much inventory to order, you can use data you’ve collected over the years about demand for certain products during certain times of the year. However, if you’re going to be selling a product you’ve never sold before, you probably don’t have much data to help you predict how many people will actually be interested in that product. Fortunately, social networking tools can be very useful to help you forecast demand and help you figure out how much inventory you’ll need.
New product forecasting
You probably already have Facebook and Twitter accounts, and you may use those accounts to announce deals and new products to the public. If you have a good amount of fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter, it will be pretty easy for you to gauge consumer interest in new products. Post pictures and descriptions of new products on Facebook, and see how many people like the new products and comment about them. If people seem interested in a product on Facebook, it’s a pretty good indication that they’ll want to buy it. In which case, you’ll need to order enough inventory to meet consumer’s needs.
Clicks, interest, order
You can also use Twitter in concert with Google Analytics to figure out how interested consumers will be in certain products. Tweet about new products, and in your Tweets include links to product pages on your website. After a day or so, go to your Google Analytics account and see how many people have visited product pages because they clicked on links in your Tweets. If you notice a good amount of traffic is coming to one of your product pages because of a link you posted on Twitter, you’ll know that consumers are interested in that product. Once you know consumers are interested in a product, you’ll also know that you need to order a good amount of inventory to make that product.
Using social media to forecast how much inventory you’ll need won’t provide you with exact, clear answers. However, it will give you a ballpark idea of demand, which will give you a ballpark idea of how much inventory you’ll need. This approach is much better than nothing. Once you get used to using social media to help you manage your inventory, you should also use it to test the waters before you start developing a new product. Facebook and Twitter can be great tools to help you figure out whether you should invest in the creation of new products.
Carolyn Kaster works at Ordoro, a company that sells inventory management software for web stores. She is a guest blogger on the subjects of social media management, order management, and tools for ecommerce merchants. Right now, she is interested in the roles Shopify, 3dcart, and BigCommerce can play for online merchants.