Everything You Need to Know About Clothing Inventory

Everything You Need to Know About Clothing Inventory

Everything You Need to Know About Clothing Inventory

The unflashy side of a glitzy industry is clothing inventory management. Regarding trends, styles, and tastes, staying one step ahead of the demand curve is critical. Of course, if it were that simple to predict what consumers wanted, everyone would take out a mortgage and start a business. 

Instead, proper clothing inventory management and demand planning assist businesses in staying one step ahead. Clothing inventory management presents unique challenges in the clothing industry. However, there are some strategies specific to clothing inventory management that fashion retailers should consider. They'll need to quickly unload items that are losing favour and be ready to order next season's hottest items.

In this article, we have covered everything, like what inventory is in clothes and how to track clothing inventory to boost your business. Let us take a look.

Where Do Boutiques Buy Their Inventory?

There are many ways for boutique owners to source their inventories. Traditionally you can attend trade shows and textile fairs; however, finding and attending a trade show whenever you want can take time and effort. Another simple and easy solution to inventory sourcing is contacting wholesale clothing suppliers. Many of these suppliers also have online websites. 

Meaning you can obtain boutique inventory from wholesale boutique clothing websites. These e-commerce sites specialize in bulk buying to businesses rather than consumers and thus have much higher minimum orders than the average customer would prefer. You can buy wholesale evening dresses, wholesale coats, and other items. 

Bulk purchasing also has many advantages because it is generally less expensive. So when it comes to the question of "How do you make clothing inventory?" Wholesale suppliers and manufacturers are the answer.

Where Do Boutiques Buy Their Inventory?

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How is a Clothing Inventory Helpful?

Clothing inventory is an important part of any business's success. In the clothing industry, having an efficient clothing inventory management system is critical. This is since the apparel industry is unique in several ways and necessitates a unique approach to clothing inventories. 

Knowing how to store clothing inventory is an important aspect of running a clothing store. If you are well organized and know how to store clothing properly, it can benefit both your company's efficiency and reputation.

How to Track Clothing Inventory?

As a store owner, you may wonder how to track clothing inventory. Once you have a clothing inventory, you must keep track of it. That way, your inventory will be found and recovered. It also alerts you when it is time to replenish a particular brand or category of clothing. 

A spreadsheet will suffice for small operations, such as racks or shelves in a large garage or mini-warehouse. This method, however, entails some risks, particularly if your inventory consists of high-value fashion items. If you are organized and like to stay on top of things, updating clothing movements and transactions on a computer spreadsheet will work for you. If you are not the type to go through the trouble, your inventory will eventually become a jumble. 

When you can't find items to pick and ship, you could lose money from lost sales or gain dissatisfied customers. Customer reviews can be brutal when this happens, so you'll want to avoid having a messy inventory. 

You must also consider expansion. As your small business grows, so does the complexity of tracking. When it comes to clothing inventory, retailers have several options.

  • Paper Method

Small retailers can make a list of their products and count them by hand. This could include categorizing a sheet and then adding subcategories for different styles. For example, one category could be "wholesale jeans," with subcategories ranging from sizes to colors.

The benefit of this method is that it is inexpensive and simple to implement for small boutique shops. The disadvantage is that this inventory management method does not scale as your business grows. It's also more prone to human error, regardless of size.

  • Mobile-Based Apparel Inventory Management Tools

Consider using inventory counting apps if you're concerned about counting errors when using pen and paper. The most simple versions let you take a picture of anything, add some notes about it, then upload the picture along with the comments to the cloud. More advanced iterations allow you to scan items with an SKU barcode and have the data instantly uploaded to your system. When the inventory count is finished, you can download the data in CSV format.

Using mobile scanners is an excellent strategy because it eliminates manual data entry, frequently prone to errors. Furthermore, it makes counts available instantly via the cloud. Depending on the level of sophistication of the app, this information is accessible via a downloadable file or through data visualizations.

  • Spreadsheet Method

The spreadsheet method involves keeping track of your inventory using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Counters manually tally items with pen and paper before entering the data into the master spreadsheet. Utilizing a spreadsheet is a step up for smaller organizations since it simplifies information storage, enables the addition of new categories and subcategories by merely inserting columns and rows, and enables basic data analysis using the spreadsheet's features. 

If retailers use a cloud-based tool like Google Sheets, they can also access inventory management information on the go. On the other hand, this approach is equally as error-prone as the pen-and-paper approach. There is a possibility of counting errors during the count and when the data is manually entered into the spreadsheet.

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Tool

Larger apparel companies should use an enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool that integrates with a warehouse management system (WMS). An ERP automates optimization by combining all back-office tasks into a master data environment. This indicates that the order management system, which communicates with the WMS, is connected to the inventory management system.

The WMS automates warehouse processes to ensure proper oversight of goods from the time they enter the warehouse (receiving) to the time they leave the warehouse (shipping). Pick path optimization, dock scheduling, and cross-docking are all tasks managed by warehouse inventory software.

Clothing inventory management requires such a system for large retailers. Orders can be placed through a variety of channels, including online, social media, apps, and in-store. In addition to new orders, they must process order returns via mail or in-store. Consumer expectations for delivery times are increasing yearly, complicating all these activities.

An ERP with a strong system simplifies apparel inventory management for omnichannel brands. When an order is received, it is processed by the order fulfilment system, and the inventory system is then updated.

How to Organize Clothing Inventory?

To avoid missing opportunities or going bankrupt, you must be extremely organized and precise when managing your inventory. The merchandise quantity should be reasonable, or your clothing boutique will appear to be struggling, and you will have a lot of locked-up capital.

  • Form a Receiving Department

All new merchandise that enters the inventory should be logged in at your receiving department. To get inventory into stock as soon as possible, make sure the receiving process is simple and intuitive. Customers should be notified in real-time so that they can place orders for new stock as soon as possible.

The receiving department will also be in charge of labelling new arrivals correctly and serving as quality control. If an item is deemed unfit, it should be flagged in your system so that it is not added to your warehouse inventory. Tracking irregular and unsold apparel as regular stock will only cause problems and disorganization later on.

  • Use Labels

When an item arrives at your inventory, it should be labelled with the following basic information: Item description, Number of items in the package, color and size etc.

Without opening a box, your employees looking for items should be able to tell if this is required to fulfil an order. Make the label print large enough for everyone to read. Because only some people's handwriting is legible, consider using a computerized system to do this.

  • Vertical Stacking

Most inventories, on average, use vertical stacking for their products. This arrangement saves space and can help you stay more organized by allowing you to read all labels at once rather than having to walk down the line of horizontally stacked materials.

  • Plan It Out

Every warehouse should have a key that explains where the inventory is stored. Because a paper copy of your layout is easily lost, torn, or destroyed, you should keep this information electronically.

From the time inventory is accepted at the dock door through each stage of the warehousing system until it is guided out the shipping door, it is tracked in an automated system. You get immediate access to one of your most precious assets thanks to this feature: your inventory.

  • Use Photo Labels

Images of what's inside a box are frequently used outside warehouses. If the image on the outside of the box is visible rather of having to read every box to see what's inside, employees will spend less time looking for, say, a blue jacket.

The Challenges Of Fashion Inventory Management

The Challenges Of Fashion Inventory Management

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Several aspects of the apparel industry can make retailers' clothing inventory management efforts more difficult. Retailers should keep an eye on these trends, assess how much they affect their businesses, and plan accordingly.

-Customers expect to shop for clothes online. Not to mention, they want those clothes in a matter of days and the ability to return them to a store if necessary. As a result, retailers require integrated apparel inventory management systems that offer a consistent customer experience while providing real-time stock information. 

Online catalogues must also be properly integrated with the system. Customers want current information on the availability of various items, styles, colors, and sizes. However, it is not only about your customers. You'll also need real-time data on what's selling and not selling through your various online channels.

-Companies that make clothing invest in demand planning analytics technologies to estimate customer demand based on industry trends and what influencers are supporting in order to stay ahead of the competition. They can also plan successful launches using historical data. Data analytics allows executive buyers to invest in the right products while avoiding unwanted or obsolete inventory.

-Although clothing sales are up, it is a challenging business. In order to meet demand and maintain adequate stock levels in the face of shifting consumer expectations and an ever-expanding e-commerce sector, fashion companies should rely on cutting-edge clothes inventory management systems.

You can read our previous article from https://www.istanbulfashioncenter.com/blog/icerik/how-much-inventory-do-you-need-to-start-a-boutique.

Labels: Everything You Need to Know About Clothing Inventory
December 09, 2022
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