In the Summer of 2022, I held an amazing example of a VIP day with a new client. A VIP day is a full day with me, in person, to go through every piece in your brand’s apparel line to determine your winning and losing products. What we tend to find is that my fresh set of eyes on your full assortment will prompt detailed discussions about the purpose and need for each style, how it performs for your customers and for your business (those are two very different things!), and if any changes need to be made.
I wanted to take a little time in this post to walk you through this process and provide some results as well:
At the main headquarter offices of this cycling apparel brand, we broke out the line into the following four big categories:
Men’s Road Cycling Apparel
Women’s Road Cycling Apparel
Mountain Biking Apparel
Accessories / Triathlon / Youth Apparel
We then broke up the day into a schedule that would allow us to review every piece in each category, so we ended up reviewing all Road Cycling Apparel from 8am - 12pm that morning, and we focused on Mountain Bike with all other items from 1pm - 4pm in the afternoon.
Every garment in the line was brought in for the category’s review where we hung them up on the wall to visually grasp the size of the assortment and looked for any outliers. From there, we talked through the customer feedback, reviews, fit challenges or issues and margin percentages of each style. We also tried on many of the garments ourselves, to gain a better understanding of any fit issues and to discuss potential fixes.
This is when the fun began! As we started to talk through every single piece, it became clear that we had a few redundancies throughout the category. Two bib shorts with the exact same chamois but a slightly different upper mesh came up on our list first. One performed very well in sales and revenue, while the other was more on-trend and modern. Buyers were showing confusion on which one of the two to purchase because they were so similar to each other, and most leaned into the classic, older styling because they were familiar with it. But the older model wasn’t necessarily the direction the brand wanted to stick to for future growth.
Our solution was to remove the old model completely and push its sales into the new model. As in all SKU Rationalization projects, when you offer two very similar options to a customer, you create confusion. It is not clear which product your company stands behind most. They don’t easily understand the differences between the two, and therefore walk away from the purchase all together. By removing the old model and only leaving the new, more modern design in the line, they have seen this product more than double in revenue year over year and it is outselling the old model by 20% now! And these are results for only one of the items we reviewed.
After a full day of line review together, the team had gone from 125 different styles in their line to just 75. Those 75 were a tightly curated, purposeful and well thought out assortment that would serve the majority of their riders with everything they might need. A 40% reduction in SKUs is massive. It is difficult to cut so many products that you and your team have worked hard to create. But the numbers don’t lie. 75 products in their line have cleared confusion from the buyer’s mind and they are already seeing quarterly revenue growth and new interest in their brand.
If you’re interested in booking a similar VIP day with me, head to my website’s contact page and send me a message. Imagine what your brand and team could do with extra money coming in and less product work on their plate every day. It might be the game-changer you need.