Does your Bridal Business have an Inventory Routine?
Our favorite numbers nerd, Marissa, is here to share her bridal shop's Inventory Routine!
Let's hear from Marissa on what she does every week, every month, and every quarter to manage her store's inventory.
As a business owner, I know it is so easy to fall into a habit of only thinking about inventory during market season, but you have to build a routine that is more frequent.
My routine is broken up into scheduled segments of weekly, monthly, and quarterly tasks. This routine
works for me and really just allows me to be tuned into my inventory all year round instead of two
times a year.
Let's dive in.
On a weekly basis, I am placing orders. I am the one who places orders for my store because I like to see what's selling. If someone else is placing these for you, I would really encourage you as an owner to run a sales-by-item report each week to just look at it. You don't need to write anything down, just understand what's sold. This helps me keep a pulse on my customer compared to my inventory and then form commonalities right away.
Next, I will review appointment notes to understand what is and isn't selling. Part of our overall stylist operations process is detailed notes from every appointment, this way anyone on our team easily sees what happened, who was there, and can pick up where things left off. Part of our notes is to include the bride's top three, so I can ask questions like, "What are the favorite styles that people were loving but maybe didn't necessarily sell? Why didn't customers buy? If they did buy, what else were they liking to help them make this decision?" This helps me keep a pulse on my customer compared to my inventory and then form commonalities right away.
Another weekly task that I do is receiving items. If any sample deliveries arrive, I am the one to check them into our inventory management workbook and POS system. This helps me see what's gonna be on our sales floor. I can then delegate to the team to prep and educate them on product knowledge.
I will look and record appointment counts, my conversion rates, department sales, and designer sales,
and just compare month over month. Doing this on a monthly basis at a high level just helps guide
action steps for my upcoming months because I can start thinking about maybe there's an exit
strategy or a chase buy opportunity or promotional plan that I need to think of.
Here are some questions I ask myself when looking at my monthly reports:
How did we perform overall?
What are my top-selling departments or categories? What's the lowest?
Is there a designer that didn't sell? Why?
Is there a designer that's had an increase in sales? Why?
What are the best sellers? What are the worst sellers?
What commonalities or trends can I see? Is there a need for any training?
Also, a monthly task I do is monitoring expenses. I will look at all of my financial statements every month and make sure that I am current and pay any bills. This is the least fun. If this feels really daunting, I would suggest you hire a professional, or google "profit and loss statement" and create your own. Knowing what you spend each month on expenses across all categories of your business as well as inventory and comparing that to your sales is huge.
I am verifying on-hand inventory by taking a physical inventory count. A lot of businesses do this yearly, but I find the more frequently I do it, the more accurate it is. So there are fewer errors. So I am quicker at it each quarter.
The other thing I do on a quarterly basis is performing a buying analysis. Now, technically I do this monthly, but at a minimum, you guys need to be doing this quarterly, not seasonally like we do for market. This should be a quarterly task.
Deep dive and analyze your assortment to really understand how your designers, silhouettes, fabrics, sizes, and pricing is all selling in your store compared to what you own in inventory. What are the sales and inventory percentages? Are we aligned? (Read THIS blog to learn more about aligning your inventory!)
Doing this quarterly is going to be so beneficial for you because then when it comes time for market season, you'll be so dialed in and then you are going to know exactly what you need and what you don't need.
Come up with your own schedule and create a routine that works for you because your business will
thank you and you’ll see the profits return to you at the end of the year and each month.
If you love the idea of an inventory routine but want a done-for-you system you can invest in and apply to your business to see tried and trusted results, check out Marissa's Inventory Management Course.
Giving you the exact same training we use to help our clients grow by 6-figures, time & time again, this is a complete Inventory Management System for Bridal Stores to give owners the tools to access all sales & inventory data necessary to manage their business. Learn more about Behind Bridal University here!
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