Spring Forward

What Time Is The Right Time To Order Inventory

We’re all holding on to the (treasured) last days of summer with two hands. It’s universal. No one is ready for the long days, sunny weekends and ice cream filled happiness to end. As a retailer though, this time of the year is stressful. Without strong inventory management, you may find yourself selling swimsuits in December.

You’re frantically trying to clear through older inventory, trying to get inventory in to fill the Fall gaps and yes, you even have to be actively thinking about holiday. Gasp. So, if your customer is still thinking about the dog days of summer, and you (the retailer) are thinking about winter, then why are WE (at Retail Concepts) thinking about next Spring? Let’s chat.

In many segments of retail (children’s, women’s contemporary, etc.), you as a retailer have to abide by strict ordering cadences. Large deliveries come for Spring and for Fall, and any re-order, fill-ins and those (beloved) opportunistic, in-season buys are up to you bringing your “A-game”. The pressure is on, right? Well, if you just finished up at Magic, or are making your way to Coterie in September, it’s time to have a plan. When you get home from your shows, you are going to need to sort through the pieces you liked (looking at styles, colors, patterns, etc.) to figure out your future assortment and then start to place orders…with great terms of course. But. Something is missing. That pesky budget.

And this is why we plan. 

You’ve heard it from us once, and you’ll hear it many more times. Engaging in open-to-buy and inventory management is one of THE best ways (if not the best) to truly understand what happened in your store, what is happening in your store, and what will happen in your store…by classification. (It’s the ghost of Christmas past!)

By working with an OTB plan, you are able to leverage your store’s historical data, your store’s current trends and even take industry trends into account so you can have a more accurate gauge of things to come. And just so that’s clear, this OTB plan includes OTB dollars (a budget) for what you should consider spending for Spring 2015…by classification (are we repeating ourselves?)

What are you waiting for? 

Having an OTB plan allows you to be proactive, reactive and stresses accountability.

Proactive-Planning presents you with a budget for 12 months, allowing you to have a general snap-shot of things to come (OTB dollars will flex between now and Spring based on sales, inventory position and actual receipts, just as an FYI). Forward thinking isn’t a bad thing!

Reactive-Planning helps to take some of the “gut” out of buying because it’s coupling your buying decisions with the numbers. Buying is both an art (you) and a science (inventory management).

Accountability-Engaging in inventory management gives you a plan to follow and forces conversation about what is really happening in-store.

You’re  busy.  Let’s  wrap  this  up.

So, as you are sorting through your leftover summer inventory, receiving large shipments of outerwear and already dreading Christmas tunes, think about planning. It’s the sanity you need as you gear up for a great Fall. And it’s not too late to affect change! You just have to be willing to take the plunge!