I’m sure some of you boutique owners are finding that reordering popular products this year is not as easy as in years past. Almost across the board, from mom and pop manufacturing shops to large corporations, inventories are thin. In addition, I’m being told by wholesalers that getting product in from overseas on a timely basis takes an act of God.
Case in point: my supplier of Major League Baseball canine gear has been waiting on a shipment of collars, leashes, jerseys, bowls, etc., since MARCH. They think the product will be back in shortly--just as baseball season is winding down. Another example: I received some new fall merchandise as part of a pre-book order from a very large supplier. After quickly selling out of an entire size run of most of the new sweaters and coats, I was dismayed to find that the products are now on backorder until THANKSGIVING. Really? Thanksgiving? Two months from now?
I’ve had to change my ordering strategy somewhat. You can’t afford to order only one size run of items you anticipate being popular since you don’t want to be left in a situation where your customer wants the item but you can’t get it in. On the other hand, you don’t want to over order an item, especially something new that has not proven to be a good seller, since sitting on inventory is not the position you want to be in especially during the busy holiday shopping season.
Use your judgment on what you anticipate being the "hot” items this season and order more than you usually would but don’t go crazy. I like looking through industry blogs, especially those reserved for retailers, to see what other boutiques are finding popular. Good luck with the fall season; I’m finding sales to be stronger than last year which bodes well for the upcoming holiday season.
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