Although the summer show season is officially over, it was phenomenally successful! Usually we don't know a good thing until it's gone... But what if we flipped that mentality and planned for good things (aka good inventory) ahead of time? Retail is still strong as ever— just plan accordingly!
Most of us have interacted wth the current shipping crisis. Although it's not ideal, there are ways to adapt to delays. Now, more than ever, ordering ahead of time is crucial.
1. Create a "shopping list" for your store by month.
Take August, for example; you should be ordering last-minute fall inventory and holiday-oriented products. Create a month-by-month list and establish when to order seasonal inventory.
2. Inventory Forecasting
Inventory forecasting, also known as demand planning, is the practice of using past data, trends, and known upcoming events to predict needed inventory levels for a future period. Accurate forecasting ensures businesses have enough product to fulfill customer orders and do not spend too little or too much on inventory. Inventory forecasting involves quantitative data and qualitative opportunities (otherwise known as trusting your gut/knowing what your customers like).
Even when you have the best tools to estimate demand, at the end of the day, it is just that – an estimate. By continuously reviewing inventory turnover, shipping methods, and other trends in your customer orders, you’ll more accurately plan for both the short-term and long-term.
3. Order from vendors with in-stock items.
Products made and shipped in the USA are often more reliable with delivery dates compared to those overseas. Vendors such as Twine and Couture Tee are prime examples of USA-made, ASAP shipping organizations. If ordering internationally, stay up-to-date with shipping trends. Know that shipping mishaps are bound to happen; don't be caught off-guard when they do.
A solution? Stay prepared and have inventory in-stock that will cushion the wait time of inventory on-the-way.
4. Stay Organized
Staying organized goes hand-in-hand with planning ahead. First, establish a system of organization. Use Microsoft Excel or third-party logistics to plan and track your inventory online. If you prefer to handwrite, make sure to digitally scan your notes/inventory logs to ensure additional copies on your computer.
Planning out inventory takes time initially, but will save you more time as the project progresses. On a global scale, shipping issues can case a multitude of challenges, but it's up to you to adapt. Harness the energy from the successful summer show season; don't let it fade! You're on a roll.
"On a strategic level, retailers need insights into organizational goals, local or global supply chain challenges, planned marketing pushes and campaigns, potential media influences—such as that celebrity endorsement—and the competitive landscape."
— Abby Jenkins, Product Marketing Manager for Oracle NetSuite