Spring is a prime selling season for apparel brands, as the changing fashion trends present an opportunity to gain customers and drive strong quarterly sales. To take advantage of this time of year brands should take specific steps to prepare. Here are four eCommerce fulfillment “must do’s” to enjoy success during the spring fashion rush.
Winter and slow-selling items should be cleared from your warehouse or fulfillment center to make room for the coming spring units. Consider putting older inventory on clearance or liquidation as an option. This may lower your overall business margins, but the money you’ll be saving on storage costs and holding aging inventory is worth it. Holding onto outdated inventory that isn’t selling can hurt your business’ cash flow, which can limit your ability to purchase the necessary inventory to ensure spring and summer success. If hats and scarves didn’t sell during the winter, they won’t now that the weather is getting warmer.
You also want to make sure you can meet customer demand. projected demand. For example, fast fashion companies often experience rapid sales influxes right when the seasons change. If you don’t have enough inventory in stock, orders may be delayed, likely resulting in dissatisfied customers going to your competitor to buy that new outfit.
To properly manage inventory, you need to analyze sales data to determine inventory velocity. With this information, you can accurately predict specific SKU’s selling speeds and how often you’re placing purchase orders for additional inventory. The next step is to categorize everything into three different groups via ABC analysis.
You should conduct this analysis every seasonal change, as inventory velocities will vary. One of the things we help do for our client is to identify slow movers, so you can create a plan to best handle these inventory groups.
So, you may have found the perfect fulfillment and/or logistics provider to help grow your emerging brand. As great as that is, the partnership can crumble without proper communication. Here is an example:
You’ve rolled out a promotional campaign to sell more shorts and sundresses. You should make sure to keep your 3PL provider in the loop so we can accurately estimate each product’s selling speed. The result is improved project management, which means more prepared operations to satisfy each order – even as order volumes rise.
Additionally, it’s crucial to make sure your technology stack is aligned with the fulfillment provider’s systems before the new seasonal rush. These programs are most useful during seasonal selling peaks, so you should perform updates well before you expected increased order volume.
Spring apparel can require different packaging and shipping cartons than winter clothing. If your business prides itself on a premium, branded unboxing experience, you may want to adjust this process accordingly. Focus on spring themes and colors to engage with your customers
By keeping your unboxing designs fresh and unique, you can maximize the emotional response customers receive when opening their orders. This ensures that they maintain their excitement and happiness when unboxing your items. Custom retail packaging is scientifically proven to keep them satisfied and coming back for more.
The same makeover logic applies to shipping containers. Because a bathing suit takes up less space than a heavy winter coat. you can use lightweight, less bulky shipping materials. Boxes may have been required for coats but poly bags are viable options for flat-pack apparel such as T-shirts and shorts. If you handle fulfillment in-house, you should factor this change into your plans. You’ll want to be sufficiently stocked with the most cost-efficient shipping materials available. These cost savings can help you maximize margins and sales during this selling period.
The spring fashion rush can take its toll on even the best brands. Like other peak seasons, poor planning will result in inefficiencies that can seriously hurt your bottom line. For additional advice on creating a strategy for high-volume seasons, view our peak planning peak planning tip sheet infographic, or contact us at Dotcom Distribution today!