An inventory manager analyzing the amount of stock she currently has

The Crucial Factor in Inventory Management Nobody is Talking About

Learn how to optimize your inventory management strategy prior to the upcoming peak shopping season.

The past few years have been an especially trying experience for inventory management as substantial shifts in shopper demand have turned forecasting into a precarious balancing act. As shoppers shift their focus to non-discretionary items (like gas and groceries) due to historically high inflation, brands who have spent months trying to get inventory onto the shelves have been caught off guard at the worst possible time. 

The current situation is especially dire for apparel brands. Compared to last year, 2022 hasn't carried the demand torch too well, and major brands like American Eagle and Abercrombie have been slashing forecasts in the wake of sinking sales numbers and inventory glut. With the peak shopping season right around the corner and brands continuing to search for the holy grail solution to the inventory crisis, we thought it best to share how modern sizing solutions can remedy this daunting scenario.

Traditional Forecasting Methods Will Likely Spell Disaster This Year

A female inventory management personnel stressfully looking at a laptop

Observing and learning from previous demand patterns is the primary method inventory managers use to establish forecasts for upcoming seasons. However, the reliability of data from several years of shutdowns, stimulus checks, and continuously fluctuating category demand is questionable, to say the least. In addition, the apparel industry has always been defined by continuously changing trends and a heavy reliance on overseas manufacturing, adding additional complexity to the current forecasting equation.  

There is also the issue of stockouts and delayed seasonal collections. Shoppers who would have gladly purchased these products never got the chance to do so, and thus, their purchasing data remains omitted from the forecasting equation. This could spell disaster for brands relying on historical demand data, as these glaring holes lead to missed opportunities to align size run forecasting with shopper demand.

We know what you're thinking. "If established forecasting methods aren't up to par, what will deliver results this year?" The simple answer to that question is body data insights

What if your brand had intricate knowledge of the body dimensions of your core shopper base? How accurate could your forecasting efforts be with this information? Ordinarily, these insights would be difficult to impossible for brands to obtain, but with WAIR, discovering the true nature of your shopper's bodies has become easier than ever before.

Optimizing Your Inventory Management Efforts With WAIR

WAIR's product insights dashboard

At its core, WAIR is a modern apparel sizing solution built to deliver personalized size recommendations to eCommerce shoppers. But while personalized and accurate size recommendations are WAIR's bread and butter, our solution has been designed from the ground up to have applications across all business units, including inventory management.

With WAIR, inventory managers can gain a complete 360-degree view of each shopper's body dimensions and purchasing behaviors, unlocking a plethora of actionable insights. These insights include but are not limited to:

Identifying shopper body types by geolocation: WAIR can identify the geolocation of any shopper using our solution and pair this information with their unique body data. Suppose brands notice that a particular region is driving much more business than others. In that case, they can leverage WAIR's body data insights to determine the average body type for that specific region and tailor (no pun intended) their inventory management efforts accordingly.

Body dimensions of buyers vs. non-buyers: When it comes to ordering products based on expected demand, it is critical to know the body dimensions of those who purchase your products and those who do not. We saw Old Navy fall into this trap recently by filling their shelves with sizes that simply didn't correspond with the body types of their core shopper base. The result? Excess inventory in sizes with little to no hope of selling and not enough stock in the sizes that would have sold. 

Sizing health of each product: Are a small number of your products seeing abnormally high return rates without context to determine why? WAIR's product insights dashboard helps brands assess the sizing health of each garment by identifying where shoppers are encountering sizing and fit issues within their journey. If certain products are in poor sizing health, inventory managers can adjust the order quantity of that item to avoid further size-related returns.

It's also worth mentioning that, because WAIR can predict the body dimensions of any site visitor, we can help brands identify missed opportunities, such as when shoppers encounter a stockout wall and are unable to purchase a product. Because this data is often not recorded or accounted for during the forecasting process, this adds another layer of accuracy to one's inventory management strategy.

As traditional forecasting methods continue to falter due to unreliable data, body data insights provided by WAIR will continue to help brands align their size run forecasting efforts with the true body dimensions of their core shopper base.

Body Data Insights Will Drive Inventory Management Success in 2022

Data-driven insights are only as valuable as the data they are based on. As inventory managers look for ways to navigate the rough waters ahead, the impact shopper body data can have on the accuracy of one's forecasting efforts is not to be ignored. Don't find yourself drowning in excess inventory or staring at empty shelves this season, order based on demand with WAIR!  

Are you ready to unlock your brand's full potential with WAIR? Schedule a demo here, and be sure to follow us on TwitterInstagramLinkedIn, and Facebook for all your fashion content needs!

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