To paraphrase the saying, even the best-laid plans often go awry. Despite valiant efforts by retailers to build and execute bulletproof pre-season merchandise plans, the market is variable and volatile and consumers are fickle. Propelled by social media, trends are quick to come and go. With near-limitless shopping options and opportunities just a tap or click away, consumers are more empowered than ever to find exactly what they want, when they want it – all of which can wreak havoc on the bottom line if an organization isn’t prepared to make in-season adjustments.
Exception management, supported by a variety of business intelligence tools and reporting mechanisms, enables retailers to better navigate and react to variances in the plan, thus increasing sales and customer satisfaction, while reducing the need to offload surplus stock with markdowns. Although not a new concept, exception management is becoming highly sophisticated as retailers gain greater access to modern planning technologies and ever-more granular information about their customers’ lifestyles, buying behaviors and product preferences at the location level. Now more than ever, retailers can start to break down why an item is selling above or below expectation – and, ultimately, make informed decisions to counteract or capitalize on the situation.
JustEnough recommends six strategies retailers can leverage in-season to avoid the costly pitfalls associated with having too much or too little stock on hand.