Case Study: Halloween Express Finds Success With Inventory Management Solution
PROBLEM: Halloween Express, an omnichannel retailer of Halloween costumes and accessories, wanted to efficiently manage its inventory to optimize sales over an eight-week sales cycle.
SOLUTION: Implemented a web-based, real-time data software product to help it make better purchasing decisions.
RESULTS: Halloween Express has become more profitable. Since implementing its real-time data solution over 12 years ago, the retailer's ability to more efficiently manage its 40,000 SKUs on its website and 8,000 SKUs in its stores by having access to real-time sales data has helped it to save thousands of dollars each year on inventory purchases.
There are seasonal businesses and then there's Halloween Express. The retailer has an eight-week sales cycle (September through October), with 50 percent of its annual business occurring in the last 10 days leading up to Halloween. Therefore, it's critical that Halloween Express is nimble and can make decisions in real time, particularly when it comes to purchasing inventory.
Halloween Express’ 200 franchises around the country look to the corporate team for guidance on the most profitable products each year. Halloween Express’ corporate team places an initial inventory order 11 months before Halloween. This order includes some of Halloween Express’ more stable merchandise — e.g., witches’ wigs, superhero outfits, etc. — as well as timely costumes that resonate with the public. Franchisees purchase their initial inventory directly from Halloween Express’ vendors and open their stores on or around Sept. 1.
Real-Time Data Solution Pays Dividends
To help it collect accurate sales data from the first two days of the selling season, Halloween Express partnered with RICS Software, a web-based retail point-of-sale system and management solution provider. Leveraging data collected by RICS, Halloween Express completes two to three inventory reorders during the eight-week season, an unheard of turnaround time.
Halloween Express relies on RICS’ sales reports to identify best-sellers and worst-sellers. This information is then sent to the franchisees, and includes a suggested buy model customized to each individual store.
"The ease of being able to compile inventory information from nearly 200 locations into one report is what makes the software so valuable," says Holly Bowling, COO of Halloween Express. "It allows our franchisees to have reaction time to buying trends that are happening in real time."