No matter what size your business is, you must run it with sound inventory management in order to be successful. This is especially true in the fashion industry.
Apparel inventory management might be the not-so-glamourous side of the fashion industry, but in the world of fashion where trends come and go at the drop of a hat, your online clothing business could suffer if you aren’t on top of your inventory management. For most retailers, there are few strategies more critical than inventory management. If you’re not tracking your inventory and supply chain, odds are you might be wasting money and not capitalizing on opportunities.
Without inventory management, your store is likely disorganized, which could lead to your business missing out on sales because you can’t find the item a customer is asking for, or perhaps you’ve got an inaccurate count and something your customer has ordered is out of stock without your knowledge. In fashion, retailers also need to be able to quickly unload items that are dipping in popularity and be ready to order the next trendiest items!
A good inventory management system will let you know what you have, what you need, and when you need it. You can also get up-to-the-minute reports on what you have in stock, what’s on order, and in transit, which takes out the guesswork from running your retail business.
Inventory management is vital for nearly every business, but here are some key reasons why inventory management especially matters when you’re in the fashion business!
Some inventory management systems can be set up to automatically notify you when it’s time to order more inventory, such as when stock falls below a predetermined level. By always having your key items in stock, you’ll be sure to not miss sales due to out-of-stock items, and ensure your customers always find the products they want, when they want them – without having to go to a competitor. Running out of stock on an item can have negative effects on your business as each lost sale is lost revenue, which can really add up over time.
Increase Customer Satisfaction
When a customer wants something, you don’t have in stock, there’s very little chance the consumer will wait around for the item to come back in stock, especially when it comes to fashion eCommerce. More likely, they will look to another retailer to fulfil their need,
Making sure you always have the on-trend items you market in stock will ensure they can rely on you, and will increase their loyalty to your store and brand.
Keeping Costs Low
Many fashion business owners think the answer to never running out of stock is simply to carry more stock in the first place. While holding inventory is an inescapable part of doing business, holding too much inventory can be a weight around your business’s neck. Not only will you be paying for that excess inventory, those trendy outfits you’ve got an excess stock of might not be in demand three months from now. You never want your money to be tied up in things like additional labour hours for managing inventory, additional space for storing inventory, or higher insurance costs. Your business will benefit far more when you are able to ensure you always have the right amount of product on hand to meet the needs of your customers.
Identify What’s Hot (And What’s Not)
With inventory management, you are able to track which items are selling and which are not. This can help you in your business and marketing strategies and to make better decisions. For example, when you are able to identify your slow moving items, you can adjust their placement, pricing, or other issues sooner to make sure they sell. You can also promote certain items together if you’ve noticed that they are frequently purchased together.
Avoid the Dreaded Dead Stock
If you work in fashion, you know trends come and trends go. What’s hot today might be totally out of style in three months. Without inventory management, you might be left sitting on outfits you’ll either never sell, or have to sell at a greatly reduced price. The bottom line is, you do not want to be stuck with dead stock, or stock you can no longer sell because no one wants it.
Managing inventory can be challenging, but it is a crucial step to running your fashion business. A store without proper inventory management systems in place is a store that’s not reaching its true potential. Don’t let inventory excess or shortages be the reason why your store is not profiting and pay attention to your inventory management today.
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