Perhaps the hardest part of running this business has been the realisation that cash flow and logistics is playing a much larger part than actual marketing. I am going to have to look into it even more closely next year when Christmas starts rolling around, but there are quite a few products that went out of stck tha thsouldn't have for christmas and too many products that we have carried in others.
In fact, in some ways, while stocking up for Christmas was worthwhile in some spaces, it was a bad idea in others. And starting to do this in September was really a bad idea - the pick-up in sales really only starts in mid-November, never mind the start. So while holding a bit more stock is useful, it's not a good idea to hold that much more.
Again - that is for non-fast selling games. But in some ways, because the best sellers are all known (Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne), it's not that important either since all those games have nice quantities at the distributor.
The other side of the point is the time it takes to et games in - the speed of restocking. Since it takes at least a week generally for us to pick-up an order, we need to not only forecast but also stock adequate levels to deal with a minimum 1 week restocking period. And it'd probably be preferable to do 2 weeks. It would so help if our distributors weren't in Ontario and the US but.. meh.
I think next year, we have to sit down and do a proper logistics/trend analysis to understnad what games sell, how many and when to really get a handle of this stocking problem.