Nordstrom has accomplished the seemingly impossible, increasing its same-store sales from last year without using an excessive number of sales gimmicks or discounts. The Seattle-based clothing seller pulled off this jump in sales by doing something few of its competitors have taken the time to do – control its inventory.
I’ve talked a lot about Macy’s inventory system, and now it’s time to talk about how another clothing retailer is effectively using inventory management software to cut costs and increase efficiency.
What Nordstrom Is Doing That Others Aren’t
The New York Times article “Nordstrom Links Online Inventory to Real World” describes Nordstrom’s strategy well:
Retailers have been flailing about a bit in their efforts to get people to shop again, deploying all sorts of gimmicks and promotions to spur customer spending.
The secret, at least for Nordstrom, has not involved a piercing insight into a customer’s mind. Rather, it has changed the way that it handles, of all things, inventory. And that has brought the department store more success in improving sales than at most of its competitors, whose recent reports signaled that their consumers were still cautious.
A Web-based inventory management system is an extremely useful tool for retailers. Customers can instantly find out if a local store has the product they’re looking for. If not, the customer can get it delivered to the store closest to them. Companies can update their inventory and accounting records as soon as sales are made online.
Breaking Old Habits
Why isn’t every clothing retailer following Nordstrom’s example? The New York Times article offers this insight:
“While it may not seem revolutionary, a melding of Web site and store is surprisingly rare in the retailing world. ‘You’re talking about traditional retailers that have traditional ways of doing things, and sometimes those barriers are hard to break down,’ said Adrianne Shapira, an analyst at Goldman Sachs.”
Old habits die hard, but in this case retailers should definitely try to get out of their rut and use Web-based inventory management software.
Fishbowl is the most-popular QuickBooks inventory management software. Try using Fishbowl to see how it can improve your inventory management system.