By ALI CUDBY
2014 is ending already? Wow – this year was a blur! Seems like summer was yesterday. Last winter’s endless snow and cold could have been the day before that. And yet…we’ve covered a lot of ground together in this Retail Briefs column.
Let’s take a quick look back at some of the highlights of our time together here.
We started the year by wrapping up our series on buying strategy, with a look at markdowns to SKU analysis. A solid buying strategy is the bedrock of any lingerie retail business. By taking the time to understand core customers and what they buy, a business can be extremely targeted in making inventory decisions. That means selling more at full price, jumping on markdowns in a timely manner, and assessing SKUs to refine the next set of buying decisions. When done correctly, a buying strategy is an ongoing process in refining a retail business.
Getting a return policy right for your business can be a challenge, particularly for independent retailers. The competing desires of offering a return policy that matches the larger players in the industry and acknowledging the reality of finances in a specialty retail environment means a delicate balance with customers. We talked to Faire Frou Frou owner Alison Rubke to learn more about the ins and outs of developing a return policy that works best for your business and your customers.
Pretty soon, the products we saw at September’s New York Fashion Week will be hitting stores, and your customers will be looking for the latest in “innerwear as outerwear.” This spring, lingerie looks will play a major role in fashion, and thinking about your particular customers and how they will translate the trend to their taste will be an opportunity to optimize your business.
Finally, earlier this month, we focused on being in the right frame of mind for success in 2015. As 2014 comes to a close, some retailers will be celebrating an amazing holiday season and focusing on how to grow even further in 2015. Other retailers will not have reached their goals for the business in 2014.
Whether or not 2014 was everything you wanted your business to be, the smartest retailers will take the time to learn and grow as they move forward. These retailers will move past excuses and stories. They will take action, and will invest in learning how to duplicate what they did well, and learn from what can be improved. As a result, in 2015 they will make more money, help more women, and come even closer to creating their ideal business going forward. My wish for you this holiday seasons is that you find the right path for growth, so your business becomes everything you dreamed it could be.
I’ll see you in 2015. In the meantime, Happy Holidays!