Love is almost always in the air, with approximately 2,077,000 couples tying the knot and getting married in the U.S. annually. If you've always had a love for beautiful bridal wear, there's no reason why you shouldn't open up a retail bridal wear boutique to help excited brides find the perfect wedding dress for their special day. Stocking up on beautifully-designed bridal wear is not going to be enough to attract excited brides to your boutique. Just because your boutique was successful one year, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll have the same success year after year. To make sure that your boutique stays relevant, you need to stay one step ahead of the market and be able to anticipate upcoming market changes. You'll need the right tools. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software programs are particularly effective in helping businesses anticipate upcoming changes. Here's 3 ways the right software can help.
Open Up a Dialogue with Your Customers to Anticipate Market Changes
To determine whether the bridal wear you stock in your boutique is exactly what your customers are looking for, you need to reach out and open up a dialogue with them. ERP software programs can help you stay in touch with any customers that may have entered your store, and have yet to find their perfect dress. This can help you anticipate market and cultural changes that may affect your business. For example, you may find that the majority of your customers tend to look for a certain fabric or a certain style by analyzing data collected from surveys you've handed out. This can offer you a glimpse of where the bridal wear trend may be going. If a certain fabric is becoming more and more popular, you'll know before anyone else. This is particularly important because brides tend to be one-time customers. With 13% of unsatisfied customers telling over 20 people of their bad experience, this can quickly affect your sales.
In addition to opening up a dialogue with your customers in regards to what they like and what they want, you can also use ERP software to keep track of customer satisfaction. This will help you anticipate whether or not your employees are going above and beyond their responsibilities to help the customers and will give you the opportunity to quickly respond to any concerns that your customers may have. You'll also be able to anticipate whether your customers are giving their business to the competition.
Stay In Pace with Cultural Changes and Business Growth by Tracking Changes in Inventory
Keeping track of your inventory can also give you some insight as to how the bridal wear market is changing. In particular, ERP software can keep track on the type of bridal wear that is being sold and how quickly the inventory is stocked. This is important as it can give you some insight as to the type of products that are doing well and whether there are any cultural changes you need to be aware of. For example, if you notice that certain designs and styles of wedding dresses are being sold more quickly, you might want to reconsider whether changes in the fashion industry are causing this change. If certain designs or dresses from a certain designer appear more popular, you might want to stock up on them.
To give you a better idea on how the software can help, flower crowns and straightforward veils were popular in the 90s, but were no longer as popular at the turn of the century. You want to notice these trends and not get caught off guard. Before that, full-length veils were popular in the 80s. If business owners kept track of their inventory, they would have noticed the change in trend, as their inventory of full-length veils would have barely moved by the end of the 80s, yet flower crowns would have been selling out like crazy.
The software can also help you anticipate whether your business will be able to keep up with annual growth. Keeping up with business growth is not as easy as it seems. If you cannot anticipate large spikes in growth, you'll be putting an excessive amount of pressure on operations. This can easily damage your business, as you won't be able to offer quality service and goods to your customers.
Foretell Problems with Suppliers
On top of keeping track of changes that occur within your business, the ERP software can also keep track of how your suppliers are doing. This includes keeping track of changes in prices, delivery times and more. Some software programs will even automatically search online regularly to look for news pertaining to your suppliers.
By keeping track of which suppliers are reliable and constantly delivering high quality goods, you'll reduce the risk of being caught off guard by a supplier or a key partner going under. If you can anticipate whether a supplier is having difficulties, you'll be able to start looking for another supplier before any sudden changes happen. This way, you won't be left hanging with no inventory.
By diligently anticipating market changes to stay one step ahead of the competition, your business will be able to adapt better. This can give your business the competitive edge it needs to survive. Owning a retail bridal wear boutique is much more than simply stocking up on beautiful dresses and lingerie. You need to keep up with current fashion trends, provide excellent service to customers and anticipate any changes that may come your way.
For more information on this topic, check out a company like Practical Technology Solutions.