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.