Small business owners facing supply chain bottlenecks stocked up ahead of the holiday shopping season, attempting to find the right balance of inventory as they compete with the big box retailers.
The global pandemic has led to previous shutdowns in countries such as Vietnam, which have long been suppliers of factory made goods and which have faced problems getting their products to worldwide markets.
While many factories resumed operations several months ago, the backlog remains challenging, with staffing and materials and supply shortages still constant amid shipping bottlenecks.
Businesses have attempted to combat the lower inventory levels by buying items sooner and gambling on a busier shopping season than 2020 from pent-up demand, more consumer disposable income and the reopening of brick and mortar stores.
Sinking their money into additional inventory was a risky move, but some small business owners said they could not afford to take a chance on items not appearing in time for major shopping holidays such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas.
Megan Searfoss, who owns two running stores in Ridgefield and Darien, Conn., invested an additional $165,000 in November because of concerns that some shoe manufacturers would not be able to meet demand, according to an article in the New York Times.
She also ramped up her inventory to 4,100 pairs instead of her typical amount of 3,000 pairs and obtained a new storage facility to avoid any shortages.
Thousands of small businesses, especially retailers are facing these hurdles, and many stocked up on their inventory just in case.
Larger companies such as Etsy, which is a marketplace for sellers, said over 50% of its U.S. vendors procured materials within their own states to avoid the supply chain woes.
Etsy is able to avoid the “complex supply chains that are vulnerable to single points of failure,” Josh Silverman, Etsy’s chief executive, said in the New York Times article.
Even retailers who anticipated these challenges and ordered their inventory early are still facing supply chain problems.
Isabel Amigon, who owns the online store Sololi, bought Christmas tree ornaments in April, but is still waiting for them to arrive due to one part on them.
She’s already deleted some items amid fears that she will not receive them in time or shoppers will have already purchased their holiday decorations.
The global disruption from manufacturing concerns to shipping delays will impact many businesses and have lead to price increases in various commodities such as wood.