Saturday, December 4, 2010

Be In-Stock for the Just-In-Time Shopper

A recent post on the membership online site RetailWire began with a comment on the advantages to a retailer of Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory management. By ordering merchandise just before you’ll need it, you save on cash outlays, storage expenses, paying for merchandise that might expire before being sold, and more.
     The inspiration for the RetailWire comment was a Wall Street Journal article that points out how retail customers are adopting a JIT approach, and attributes the change to the prolonged economic recession. The article’s evidence for JIT includes:
  • Between 2008 and 2010, the number of items American shoppers keep in their pantries dropped about 20%.
  • Elie Tahari and are changing their selling schedules to mesh with the timelines of shoppers who choose to purchase their clothes in season rather than ahead of time.
  • Del Monte Foods and Kimberly-Clark Corporation are featuring more one-week’s supply rather than one-month’s supply package sizes of food and household products respectively.
     It’s not just the economy behind JIT. Households are getting smaller as more people choose to remain single or are living alone in their senior citizen years. And an aversion to preserved foods and yesterday’s technology leads our customers to wait until the need must be met.
     To accommodate your JIT shoppers, stay in stock for items they’ll be seeking. The IHL Group, based in Franklin, Tennessee, found customers often say the store is out-of-stock even when the retailer thinks their own store is in-stock. This is because the customer has a broader definition than the retailer often does:
  • The shelf is empty. Even when you attend to your point-of-sale and inventory level data, items to fill in the empty shelves have not made it from your receiving or storage area onto those shelves.
  • The merchandise is on a shelf, but not easily available to the customer. It could be on a high perch—which puts it out of sight—or in a locked cabinet—which puts it out of reach when there aren't store staff members right there to help.
  • The customer is looking for an item with characteristics you're not tracking. They want a specific pattern on the skirt or a smaller quantity in each package. Your recordkeeping systems indicate you have the item, but unless your staff members are talking with the shoppers, you won't realize that, in the customer's view, you're out.
Click below for more:
Pare Down Assortments Selectively
Help Seniors to Shop Early

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