Fashion Inventory Management

Want to make it big in the fashion industry? Your success starts with your fashion inventory management strategy – so let’s learn how you can improve it fully.

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One of the biggest, fastest growing industries is the fashion industry. This makes it also one of the most competitive markets out there! For these reasons, businesses hoping to perform well in this industry have to put in a lot of time, effort, and dedication.

This is especially true when it comes to the inventory of your fashion business. It needs to be perfectly streamlined and in its optimal state if you want it to be a contributive part of your success. And no matter how hard it seems to pull that off, you can do that easily with the help of a fashion inventory management software. 

Excited to find out more? Then keep reading; because on this page, you will find out all the relevant information that you need to know on fashion inventory management and ways to streamline it with the help of a fashion inventory management software. 

Contents:

  • What is Fashion Inventory Management (and Why it Matters)
  • Why Fashion Inventory Management is Hard
  • Types of Fashion Inventory Management
  • Streamlining Fashion Inventory Management with a Fashion Inventory Management Software

What is Fashion Inventory Management (and Why it Matters)

First things first: what is fashion inventory management? 

It’s a term used to describe the process of managing any stock that consists of apparel and other fashion items like footwear and accessories. 

Next, why is it important to focus on fashion inventory management?

Inventory management is important for any business. However, for the fashion industry, it has a special significance. If you have a haphazard inventory, you can simply not succeed as a business! It really can make or break your position in the fashion industry, and hence requires your complete focus. 

Here are a few things that an organised fashion inventory can help you with:

Helps you prevent stock-outs 

Fashion items sell fast – we all know that. However, just because that is a fact does not mean it is okay for you to miss out on orders and leave customers disappointed. Under stocking and subsequent stock outs will leave a negative impact on your brand and can really mess with the overall position of your business. Therefore, you need to do your part and make sure that you are preventing stock-outs to the best of your ability. This can only be done when you have your fast fashion inventory management under control! 

It will enhance the customer experience 

Fashion consumers are one of the hardest audiences to please. In order to get on their good side, you need to offer an advanced and enhanced customer experience. Needless to say, focusing on your inventory can really help you impress your customers. This is because if things are streamlined for you from the ground level i.e. your inventory, you can more easily create an experience that is smooth and seamless, and therefore a positive one for your customers. Hence, for any fashion business that is trying to boost up their customer satisfaction game, this is the only way to go. 

Helps you cut back on costs

Running a fashion business is not for the weak-hearted; especially when it comes to the costs. So, to make sure that you are staying above water and that there are no monetary losses that you have to deal with, you have to make smart decisions in regards to your budget. One of these is definitely focusing on inventory management! By focusing on fashion inventory management, you can actually make a difference to your cash flow and just be considerably more evolved in the finance area of your business – which is why it is such an important aspect of your overall strategy. 

Scale up your business a lot faster

In the fashion industry, one of the most challenging goals to achieve is growth. Businesses who want to scale up and that too in a shorter amount of time really have to struggle. However, if you focus on inventory management and strengthening the foundation of your business, you can do a lot in terms of expanding your business. This is because when the back end of your business i.e. your inventory and logistics are on point, you can focus more on your growth strategy and actually devise and follow tactics that will help you boost up your business and help you grow properly. 

Why Fashion Inventory Management is Hard

Although proper fashion inventory handling and management brings a lot of benefits to the table, we understand how it can be particularly hard to execute. This is because of the following challenges:

The fashion industry is expansive

This goes without saying; but the fashion industry is very expansive. This means there is a lot of competition out there, and you have to actively overcome it if you want to emerge as an industry leader. However, this also means that there is little to no space for things to go wrong, especially in the inventory department, and that businesses need to maintain the highest standards of inventory management in order to give their venture the standing it deserves.

The trends in the fashion industry change at the speed of lightning

What this essentially means is that you need to keep your inventory updated at all times! You need to keep your stock moving, otherwise you are at an increased risk of redundant stock aka obsolete inventory, which in itself is a hassle to handle. For that, again, your inventory needs to be as advanced as possible and that can be hard to ensure when you don’t have the right tools and technology available to help you with that.

There is a general expectation of sustainability

The fashion industry is one of the most targeted industries when it comes to ESG violations. As such, for any business that wants to grow and make their venture a success, it is important to not only promote sustainability but also make it the centre of all their operations. While most businesses do have a sustainable front, they fail to bring this aspect into their inventory management strategies which can seriously dent their overall efforts. Yet, if they are primarily relying on paper-based systems then improving their inventory management in terms of sustainability can be extremely difficult, and sometimes even impossible, to achieve.

There is a higher chance of returns

Fashion items are more susceptible to every inventory manager’s dreaded nightmare: returns and exchanges. There are a plethora of issues that the customer can find with the item; including but not limited to size issues, change of preference, and colour differences. It is important for business to offer this, but it also severely complicates the fulfilment process as it involves reverse logistics in the warehouse. Following this, perfect fashion inventory management does not only entail streamlined forward logistics, but it also involves reverse logistics which is likely to make things harder for businesses operating in the fashion industry. 

Supply chain bottlenecks must be dealt with effectively

Supply chains are prone to a lot of disruptions. Unfortunately, if these disruptions are not taken care of timely, they can seriously impact the operational efficiency of a fashion business. Yet, not all businesses can promptly deal with or preemptively avoid these problems, simply because they don’t have the kind of inventory support needed to do that. For example, if most of your inventory processes are manually executed, there are likely to be supply chain bottlenecks and you can’t even deal with them properly as you don’t have the right tools and technology available that can actually fix them for you.

Types of Fashion Inventory Management

Paper-based inventory management

The paper-based inventory in one of the traditional ways of inventory management. Needless to say, it involves making a list of your inventory by hand and conducting inventory counts manually. Not only does this process depend entirely on your workforce, but since it is so heavily involved with the human element, it also leaves more space for inaccuracies and errors. 

Businesses that are trying to be more efficient in their business should not concern themselves with this method. Although it could work for smaller businesses, if you want to achieve optimal productivity, then the paper-based inventory management system is not the best fit for you.

Spreadsheet inventory management

This fashion inventory management method is better and a lot more advanced than a paper-based inventory management system. As the name suggests, with this method you manage your inventory using a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. 

Again, smaller businesses can benefit from this method and it may even work for some bigger establishments. However, it is not advanced enough to help you process your orders quickly and efficiently, and hence may not be the ultimate way to strengthen your standing as a fashion retail business as that would require a much more effective solution. 

Integrated inventory management 

Integrated inventory management refers to inventory management that is done with the help of an automated inventory management system. This is the best way of managing your inventory, as there are less chances of inaccuracies, delays, and errors. Not only that, but with the help of an automated inventory management system, you can also process everything a lot more quickly and hence, attain your goals faster. 

All you have to do for integrated inventory management to work in your favour is to pick an inventory management software that aligns with your needs. As long as you can confidently do that, you will see your inventory management system evolve to the next level.

Streamlining Fashion Inventory Management with a Inventory Management Software

A fast fashion inventory management system software can simplify your fulfilment process to a great extent. It takes control of all the major inventory-related processes, which can ultimately allow you to focus on other aspects of your business and put all your efforts towards actively enabling your business to grow holistically. 

It can help you overcome all the challenges we have discussed on this page, and that way, you can leave behind your competitors and emerge as a leader in the fashion industry. It will not be an easy job, but with the help of the right inventory management system, you can make it a lot simpler! 

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