The growing emphasis on ever-leaner retailing means the days of hedging inventory bets with colossal surpluses are gone for good. The costs of inventory mishaps—both in terms of actual bottom-line economics and brand experience for customers—have driven many retailers to significantly reduce their inventories.
Meanwhile, it’s grown increasingly difficult to predict the actions of American consumers, whose intentions are less and less correlated to their actual behaviors since the recession.
While most retailers have cut their inventories accordingly, leading retailers are optimizing their remaining inventory to get the most bang for their buck.
1. Aggressively share inventory across channels
Truly sharing inventory across channels creates the opportunity for tremendous customer experience benefits and can help avoid having to mark down large amounts of leftover merchandise.
From a customer experience perspective, shared inventory increases the likelihood that a customer will be able to purchase a product in a particular size or color, regardless of channel. For small bricks-and-mortar locations, sharing inventory can open up a whole new array of choices for customers. [Read more…]