In the second and final part of this interview with Beth Guastella, the recently named president and COO of giggle, a specialty retaile
I had the opportunity to chat recently with Beth Guastella, the recently named president and chief operating officer of giggle, an omnichannel specialty retailer of upscale baby products and resources. In part one of this two-part blog post, we discuss what attracted Guastella to giggle; what specialty retail is; and how giggle’s catalog business works.
Retailers of all types — brick-and-mortar, internet, catalog and multichannel variations of the three — are facing the same inventory challenges, yet still view their issues from the bias of their primary channel. I was reminded of this while attending the recent National Retail Federation (NRF) Convention. Three observations that the Direct Tech contingent brought back from NRF seem to support this view:
For 30 years I've advocated for more detail in the planning process. Now, however, I believe the best response to this overwhelming new reality is "less." Less data, less complexity, less time planning insignificant details. It's time to focus on the right planning, to free up your time and brain so you can make sound decisions that affect sales, profits and cash flow.
It seems every retailer I've spoken with recently is scrambling to gain control of their inventory planning, regardless of channel. It's not just the cross-channel marketers fighting it; even pure-play internet retailers are struggling to support their "minichannels" — search engine optimization, search engine marketing, email marketing, Amazon stores and more.
An inherent fact in retailing is nonproductive inventory — i.e., inventory that's sitting idle in stores or distribution centers with no immediate sales plan for moving it. Nonproductive inventory can be overstocks (inventory you own that exceeds projected future sales, primarily for discontinued and soon-to-be-discontinued items) and too-much-too-soon inventory, for which you have a future sales plan but your weeks-of-inventory ownership is far greater than needed. Both can have a substantial negative impact on your company's bottom line.