When Should I Switch Out Merchandise?
The modern consumer and their buying habits seem to speed up every day! While many supply chains and suppliers in general have not been able to keep up with the constantly evolving trends, Air Waves order fulfillment processes make updating merchandise in a physical or e-commerce store easy and fast.
In a traditional brick and mortar, you may be hesitant to switch out your merchandise. Restocking displays, estimating sales and placing orders at the right time can be very overwhelming – not to mention everything else that goes into running your store. But as customers continue to venture back into the physical store, you are going to find that the last year and half of almost exclusively online shopping has greatly influenced your customer and their buying habits.
Here are some recommendations to keep your Brick and Mortar store relevant – and profitable – in the new customer buying journey.
Switch Merchandise Seasonally at a Minimum
When customers are walking into your store in August, they may be looking for summer clothes, but they are more likely looking to start preparing for the next season. We recommend that you are updating your merchandise at least four times a year – if not more. What you must also keep in mind is the amount of time it will take for you to determine what your new order will look like, how long your supplier will take to fulfill your order, and how long it will take for you to switch out your displays and/or online store as well.
An example restocking clock may look like this:
- Spring Line: Make final order choices by the end of December, shipment arrives at the end of January, set up displays & online store by mid-February.
- Summer Line: Make final order choices by the end of March, shipment arrives at the end of April, set up displays & online store by mid-May.
- Fall Line: Make final order choices by the end of June, shipment arrives at the end of July, set up displays & online store by mid-August.
- Winter Line: Make final order choices by the end of September, shipment arrives at the end of October, set up displays & online store by mid-November.
Now, we say at least seasonally, but it may be worth it for you to sneak in some smaller specialty orders throughout the year as well. For example, many consumers are doing the bulk of their holiday shopping in October and November. It may be beneficial for you to order a special line of items that you think your customers will want to purchase as gifts for friends and family that may not be strictly seasonal. But how do you know what your customers will be looking for? This brings us to our next recommendation.
Ask for Customer Feedback
Every target market is slightly different. What your customers are looking for in their apparel will vary from what the store’s customers down the street are looking for. And even within your customers, there may be different sub-categories of target markets and interests. This is why it is important to determine what types of garments and designs appeal to your demographic.
Here are a few ways you can ask your customers for feedback:
- Every time someone makes a purchase, collect their phone number and/or their email address. Send them a survey asking for their feedback on the clothing they purchased and the clothing they did not purchase. Ask them what they would have liked to have seen on the shelves during their visit.
- Run Instagram or Facebook polls. If your Target Market is following you on one of these channels, ask them to share their feedback directly on upcoming apparel options, prints, designs, etc.
- Encourage your sales associates to ask scripted questions to your customers like what brought them into the store that day, what they liked, etc. and write down the interactions after they occur.
- Offer a giveaway on recent purchases through your website if customers complete a short survey on their experience with your store and the products they purchased.
Partner with a Reliable & Helpful Supplier
Our final recommendation when you are switching out your merchandise is by choosing a reliable, thoughtful and innovative supplier for your products. For example, when a B&M partners with Air Waves, we have only a 15 day lead time from order placement to printing fulfillment. When you factor in shipping, you could be having your new order each season in as little as 28 days!
With our flexibility in ordering quantities, you are not bound by set numbers of each size. Instead, you can pick and choose how many items you want in each size available from our extensive lines.
Finally, when you partner with Air Waves, you receive the latest in apparel merchandising trends. Our team of designers are constantly researching and catching onto the next hottest trend – and we share those with you!