3 Best Strategies to Keep Apparel Shelves Stocked Through the Holidays

According to data from the the National Retail Federation, this holiday season will be the best one in many years for retail stores.

The economy is booming, and consumers are feeling more comfortable purchasing gifts than they have since before the early 2000’s recession.

While most types of retail stores respond to this increasing demand by stocking their shelves to the fullest, apparel stores are more cautious in planning their holiday season strategies.

It’s Not What You Stock Your Shelves With,
But How You Do It

Okay, so it’s pretty much too late to “plan ahead” for the holiday season. You’re already in the middle of it!

SPOILER: Method 3 below is what you’ll need to check out if you’re looking for an immediate way to restock your shelves, and keep products flying on and off the shelves.

But if you’re curious to see how different apparel stores use different methods to stock their shelves and make profit during the holidays without over-stocking or under-selling.

Method 1: The Traditional 9-Month Plan

This is the traditional method used by most retail stores.

Start research on clothing trends just about the second the holidays end, and start ordering clothes about 9 months ahead of schedule.

When you do, order as much inventory as you possibly can to keep your shelves stuffed as full as possible when the holidays come next year.

It’s cheap, it’s traditional, and it’s safe.

But is it really?

There’s 3 major problems with this method that the retail industry is just now starting to understand:

  1. There’s no sense of consumer urgency. Consumers these days need to be stressed to the point of scared that if they don’t purchase your product, they’ll be making a huge life-altering mistake. They’re much less likely to purchase an item that you have 10,000 of, than one you have 10 of. There’s an urgency to not keeping your shelves super-stuffed that could boost your sales through the roof this holiday season.
  2. Excess overflow. Too often, clothing stores over-order for the holidays, and wind up paying for it over and over again in the long run. Once the holidays end, the aftermath usually shows that excess inventory is wreaking havoc on your cash flow, and continue to kill your revenue for many months on end.
  3. Less accurate consumer forecasting. It’s not rocket science that the closer you get to the holiday season, the better you can predict consumer demand for the holidays. Fashion is an ever-evolving concept. To think that one could predict what people would obsess over for the next holiday season nearly a whole year in advance is borderline absurd. Take a chance, and observe everything you can about changes and trends in fashion and consumer demand as close as you possibly can before the next holiday season for the most accurate consumer forecasting, and ultimately, the highest sales.

Method 2: Dynamic Demand Forecasting

You would think that apparel stores would be scrambling to purchase all the inventory they can get their hands on to meet the rising consumer demand.

However, apparel giants including J.C. Penney, Macy’s and Kohl’s are doing just the opposite.

Instead, they’re purchasing less inventory than usual, and on a much shorter schedule than you’d expect.

Dynamic demand forecasting is the idea of buying less inventory to both instill a sense of real urgency among consumers who feel they have to purchase their winter sales before they run out.

It also ensures that they aren’t left with a huge excess of post-holiday clothing inventory.

Not ensuring this with any strategy implemented can kill your cash flow, and leave you bleeding revenue.

Although it’s mostly implemented by bigger stores that have the heavy cash flow needed to make these quick decisions, pieces and concepts of it are also being used by smaller retail stores with some great results.

Ordering the clothes they need for the holidays only 3 months ahead, instead of the typical 9 provides retailers with a much more accurate picture of consumer demand, as the closer to the holidays it gets, the better you can predict consumer patterns and trends.

This results in higher sales, more accurate matching of customer demand, and less overflow.

Method 3: Revolving Business Line of Credit

Now, chances are if you’re reading this, you’re already in the thick of it, and need immediate relief.

You’re in luck – check this out:

More and more clothing and apparel stores are using revolving business lines of credit to get what they need immediately, especially in the middle of the holiday season.

Revolving credit gives you the chance to take immediate action, including:

  • Immediate purchasing of inventory in bulk
  • Immediate transfer of products
  • Immediate cash flow for operational costs
  • Immediate capital to handle payroll, and hire temporary employees

And literally any other need you have – without burning through your own working capital.

Here’s how it works:

  • You get a line of credit with a maximum – let’s say it’s $500K.
  • You need to purchase $200K in inventory.
  • Take $200K out of your credit line, leaving you with $300K.
  • You make $800K in sales.
  • Put $200K of your profits back into your credit line.
  • You now have $500K to draw from once again.
  • Your business is now prepared to take on any business venture up to $500K.

You never have to use funds you don’t need from your credit line.

Just take out only the amount of funds you need. You only pay for what you use, so you’re never overborrowing!

This is often the fastest and easiest way for clothing stores to finance their way out of any jam during the holidays, and take advantage of every opportunity.

Need Help This Holiday Season?

Give a live representative at National a call at (877) 482-3008, and ask them how they can help you get you the immediate capital you need in as little as 24 hours.

Or, if you’re ready to get the ball rolling, you can apply online by filling out the simple 1-minute application below, and get the funds you need to take advantage of everything the holidays have to offer!

 

About the Author, David Surrusco
David Surrusco is a Content Writer at National, best known for his work in creating what has become the best blog regarding business growth known to mankind: The National Advisor.