Your back office HQ can be the central hub of your business. From there you should be able to control your stock and evaluate sales activity across your shops. But for fashion, sports and footwear retailers there are special problems created by size and colour, special problems that require a specialist solution.
Manually trying to keep track of all your styles, sizes and colours is riddled with problems, and very time consuming. For example, manually trying to find out where stock is low for particular styles or sizes can take hours to work out and you probably never quite trust the answer anyway. This gets still worse when assessing sales, looking for trends or balancing stock between shops; you need much more than a simple list of the items you have in stock or have sold.
Assessing the long list of a products stock or sales by size/colour that a standard computer system will generate is very time consuming. A long list makes it very difficult to imagine the size run’s or to see the sales pattern, it’s still harder to compare stock holdings or size/colour sales performance between styles or across locations.
In order to really evaluate what’s happening in your business you need to enter and view items by size and colour in a grid throughout your system, and this is a specialist requirement (sometimes referred to as a matrix display). Ideally you need to be able to view these grids by supplier, department and type etc for stock, sales and orders – or by any combination of these, otherwise even if you have a matrix display you can spend hours looking through lots of grids for the few you need to assess. If you are logging-in or transferring goods this also needs to be done via a matrix with barcode labels then being automatically generated; and all your information should move invisibly between your HQ system, your till(s) and your web site.
Beyond size and colour grids are the reports you need to compare styles overall; these need to pull all the sizes and colours together so that you can report and compare product by product. Overview reports like these need to get to the heart of your business, quickly and easily showing you what is selling well… and what is not; what needs to be re-ordered and what should be immediately discounted; where your profit margin is being eroded and what your buying pattern for next seasons orders should be; how your suppliers are performing, how your staff are performing and who are your best customers.
Just imagine the savings you could make if you could find all the answers you needed easily and quickly. If a product was not selling well would you discount the line or would you incentivise staff to ensure it was sold now rather than at half price in the sale? When it comes to ordering, is the best selling colour on your web site the same as that in your shop? If you could see that you had discounted a particular style of jacket last year would you order more or less of them this year? How much could you save in missed sales if you always knew in advance which basic all-season line was running out of a particular size or colour? Are you overstocked by less than 5% or above 15%?
The questions go on and on and if answered correctly your profit will go up and up. How much discount are you actually giving customers and which staff member is giving more discount than others? If most of your profit came from the same suppliers for the last three years would you want to analyse your other suppliers to see which ones to drop? In deciding which suppliers to drop would the customer returns rate, the achieved margin or the sell through rate effect your decision; or would all of them play a part? Is the percentage turnover of your trousers the same as the profit percentage for trouser, if not why not? What’s going missing in the shop(s), is shrinkage below 1% or above 3%? Are full or partial stock checks easy?
There is certainly a great deal to consider. You need to be able to trust in your systems ease of use, at both your HQ and at your tills, in order to minimise human error. If the system is complex to use then the answers it gives will often be wrong. But while you need a specialist system to log your size/colour stock in easily and quickly it’s almost impossible to know all the questions you may need to ask in the future. So as well as a system that makes it easy to handle size and colour items you also need one that lets you quickly and easily ask key questions by product, supplier, department and type etc….as they arise.
Take a look at Top to Toe. It offers marvellously clear and fast data input by size and colour. With the right passwords you can access your information from anywhere in the world. Tills are easy to use and link automatically to your HQ, the whole system can be linked seamlessly to your web site.
The Top to Toe HQ also provides exceptional reporting flexibility that’s clear and easy whether your question is simple or complex. You can quickly analyse stock, sales and orders by size and colour or analyse the business overall by any combination of supplier, department, type etc; you can undertake fast stock checks or track your individual customer’s purchases.
If you have the answers to your key business questions then you have true ‘stock control’; Top to Toe stock control. It’s easy and quick, allowing you to input and track a style with all its sizes and colours in a grid, and to do it in just a few seconds; to report across products by supplier, department, type etc and to link together all the parts of your business. Easy to use and well structured Top to Toe does deliver the clarity, flexibility and profitability you are looking for.