A spike in sales is every entrepreneur’s dream, but it can create some nightmare logistics if you’re not ready. Sales surges can result from a number of things; your product could get name-checked by an online influencer and go viral, or you could get an outsize response to a sale you are offering and, of course, the holidays will drive up your sales too. With Christmas just around the corner, you’re bound to see a marked increase in purchases, so make sure you are ready.  

Here are a few tips for preparing for sales spikes: 

  • Watch for warnings. In some cases, a spike in sales may come completely out of nowhere. More often, however, there are indicators. When you demo and test a new product, the feedback should help you gauge sales. Track your sales carefully. This can be tricky if you’re selling through multiple avenues or through big box stores that don’t always generate timely reports. You should also monitor social media buzz about your product.  
  • Don’t launch until you are ready. Some sellers are so excited to debut a new product that they don’t do the legwork to support it. Before you start selling an item, make sure that you can facilitate instant growth. This may mean that you have multiple factories ready to supply your product (just in case one of them can’t keep up) and the shipping resources to transport goods from different manufacturers. Make sure that you have options at all levels of supply chain management to support a potential sales surge.  
  • Develop a crisis plan. If you do run out of inventory, know how you will communicate with customers about the situation. Have a plan for helping shoppers understand how the shortage happened (people will usually be sympathetic if they know why your supply chain is backed up). Consider offering rain checks or discounts on future purchases and have a system in place for alerting customers when the product will be back in stock.  

Without a crystal ball, it’s impossible to predict all market trends. However, with careful preparation, you can be better prepared to address sudden sales increases without losing business due to shortages.