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David Brown

David Brown: Reorder Rebuttals

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If you aren’t restocking your fast-sellers, you’re losing sales and money.

BY DAVID BROWN | Published in the September 2014 issue.

We always tell clients about the importance of restocking fast-selling pieces. However, every so often clients raise some concerns about this process. These are some of the most common questions:
“My inventory will resemble that of others”
“If I buy it again, what will the person who purchased it think?”
“My customers like to see a new selection”

Let’s look into this, one question at a time.

First, the problem that your inventory will look similar to others. If you fear that this will happen, you have a misconception — that everyone is quick at reordering fast-sellers. In reality, they aren’t. Everyone wants to stock the next novel thing, and no matter how often we provide them with statistics and coax them, a majority of them don’t reorder.

Another one of your assumptions may be that fast-sellers are available in a limited supply. Given the size of the market and the amazing number of vendors present, a small fleet of trucks could be filled with the jewelry pieces in the country that would qualify as fast-sellers. The selection is pretty much unlimited.

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Next is the question, “What would the customer who purchased it think?”That question is easy to answer. Have they paid a price that guarantees that the piece is exclusive? If the customer purchased a pair of earrings worth $999 from you, does it give them the right to decide whether anyone else can buy the earrings again?

Take into consideration the time you spend selecting that item. Most store owners don’t take that into their calculation of costs, but if you were to amortize that time over a single sale it starts getting significant. A 15-minute selection process if you price your time at $100 per hour will add $25 to the cost of the item if you order it only once. It is very difficult to find fast-sellers, and thus you can’t afford to restrict their availability — not without the customer paying for the exclusivity. As it happens, most customers don’t ask about an item being present in the store after they’ve bought it. I discussed this with a store owner who regularly reordered fast-sellers. They said that they barely remembered it being brought up, and it happened only once in 12 years. They also gave an example of a ring they’d sold over 50 times in a small town and had never heard that someone ran into another person wearing it!

Bespoke should come only at a premium price.

The third concern is about your selection becoming boring. “To whom?” I ask. Don’t get confused between what you and your customers see. You look at your collection every day, but they don’t. You scan the real estate ads only when you are in the market to buy a new house, otherwise you don’t. Most people move on after making a purchase. They stop looking. If re-ordering is done on a timely basis, you will always have the space and funds for all the new stock you need. In a nutshell, you should reorder items until they cease to be popular. Period.

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For 25 years, Stafford Jewelers of Cincinnati, Ohio, was THE place to go for special gifts, engagement diamonds, high-end Swiss watch brands — in other words, the crème de la crème of fine jewelry. But this summer, the Stafford family was ready to retire. So, they chose Wilkerson to help them close up shop. “One of the biggest concerns was having the sale in the middle of COVID,” says Director of Stores Michelle Randle. Wilkerson gave the Stafford team plenty of ideas as well as safety guidelines, which they closely followed. “All of the employees felt safe, the customers coming in the door felt safe and we did a lot of business,” says Randle. How much business? “The inventory flew,” she says. Translation: They sold millions and millions of dollars-worth of merchandise. Randle calls it, “an incredible experience.” Would she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers who are thinking of thinning their inventories or retiring? “Everyone got more than what they expected out of the sale. You have to hire Wilkerson. They’re amazing.”

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