Tuesday, 19 January 2016


A key focus in the assessment of the past performance for the season is to compare the actual key numbers to that what was expected and understand the deviations whether they were positive or negative. The learnings are imperative in the compilation of a new season’s strategy and setting of targets.
The key topics that need to be questioned and evaluated are:


-          Were the trends which were anticipated in line with what actually materialised? What needs to be taken into account when predicting the future season’s trends?
-          Did the strategy that was set for the brand and customer together with that of the group and department as well as the supplier selection deliver the envisaged objectives? What needs to be done differently for the new season?

Customers and competitors

-          Did the information on customer segmentation and the action plans cater effectively in the satisfaction of the needs? What adaptations and additional resources are needed for the future season?
-          Did the competitor initiatives which were anticipated actually happen and was it possible to effectively counteract them? What other methodologies are available to keep up to date with the market place activities?

Key performance Indicators

-          Were the targets of sales, margins, stock levels and turns, gross and net profits achieved as per plan or were they unrealistic? What measures require review and which activities are needed to be put in place to achieve them in the new season?
-          Was the product assortment in the right proportions and did they perform to acceptable levels to cater for all customer segments effectively? Were the product innovations and promotions that were implemented successful and at the right levels?
-          What were the actual colours and sizes sold in comparison to the volumes purchased and what should have been bought instead?
-          Identify product sales which need to be adjusted to a realistic level as a result of product failure, poor availabilities and any other factors such as competitive activity and what special events were there that may have influenced sales either positively or negatively.


-          Did the suppliers perform to the levels that maximised availability in the right quantities and on time?
-          Did the selected suppliers possess the right capabilities to deliver the programmes that were allotted in terms of innovation, complexity, capacity, quality and on time delivery? Are there other suppliers who should be considered?
-          Was the feedback received from suppliers of a nature that can help improve the working relationships going forward?


-          Were stores able to understand the structure of the ranges and easily display them to emphasize the thinking of the buying team? What improvements to guidelines can be made to assist them?
-          Was the feedback received from stores valuable and what mechanisms can be implemented to improve the quality of feedback?


-          Were the marketing channels that were utilised effective and was the uplift in sales able to be measured accurately against control products? Which other communication mediums would be considered?
-          Were the promotions successful and what was the extent of substitution purchases?
-          What was the feedback from store staff and customers?

-          Were the social initiative objectives achieved?

Monday, 4 January 2016

The use of trials

The trusted use of trial quantities which can be put into stores prior to the season may be intended to test attributes such as styling, colours, prints, fabrics, fashion looks, technical or innovative direction or even a value added feature such as a detachable hood in order to gauge the potential of a market.
The trial must also be specific as to what is being tested and it is not advisable to combine different features at the same time. For example, if the purpose is to test a colour, it should be done in a tried and tested style rather than using a new concept style. If this is not done, it could lead to a confused result as to whether it was the style that was successful or was it because of the colour that sales were disappointing.
In order to get a realistic reading of the potential of an untested product it is important to utilise the stores that represent the target market across the chain rather than simply using the larger stores in an environment where there is all likelihood of selling.  It is preferred to use a selected cross section of stores and compare performance against similar control styles in the same stores and then extrapolate the results to all stores in the intended catalogue to determine the overall sales potential of the trial product.

Where open to buy is restricted, which is almost always the case, a recommended tactic is to hive off an amount upfront which will allow the freedom to experiment at any time and potentially grow a high volume line.