Buying Stuff and Having to Compromise

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    Jun 05, 2011 6:52 PM GMT
    You have done your research. You have checked the reviews. You know exactly what you want to buy.

    You start searching online or in the stores. No one has the size you need. No one has the colour you want. They have one in stock, but it is not the model or design you were looking for.

    There is a global recession on and still retailers and manufacturers cannot manage to supply what you want to buy, whether it is a piece of technology or a pair of pants. Why don't they produce or stock more of what is popular and less of what is not? Is it just me?
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    Jun 05, 2011 7:36 PM GMT
    I TOTALLY agree. This past winter I looked for bootcut jeans and nobody had them. Seems they stock the least of the least common denominator. And what's up with multi-colored stuff? For instance, look for a trash can and they're in red and blue and green or whatever, can't find black or white. That's a bad example, but you know how sometimes what you want is only available in stupid colors? Like, duh, we're not all college girls.

    I want a white or clear water bottle, not neon turquoise! icon_wink.gif
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    Jun 05, 2011 10:18 PM GMT
    Retailers must be retarded. I go to a cool hat shop in SF every other month or so and with dozens of people in the shop there are no medium
    Size hats, just small, large and x large. Why would you run a store that way?
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    Jun 05, 2011 10:19 PM GMT
    Presumably Medium sells out first because most people are medium.
  • Sparkycat

    Posts: 1064

    Jun 05, 2011 11:42 PM GMT
    And the people in Joplin, Missouri think they have problems!
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    Jun 05, 2011 11:55 PM GMT
    redheadguy saidPresumably Medium sells out first because most people are medium.


    As a good retailer, would you not therefore order a lot more medium hats? As a good manufacturer, would you not make more medium hats?

    I appreciate that, in the great scheme of things, it seems a trivial matter, but the economic recovery is partly dependent on people spending more. If they cannot find what they want, they won't buy. Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of the US economy's total economic output. The figure is about 65% here in the UK.
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    Jun 06, 2011 12:17 AM GMT
    You'd think it would be common sense, but not many companies have the capability to know which products sells and which ones don't. I remember seeing a documentary about Wal-Marts logistical center and they rival the US Military in logistics. They know which products sell more in certain regions and concentrate those products there, as opposed to other regions. When a certain product reaches a certain inventory threshold, an order automatically gets generated to restock that store. They'll have new inventory in a couple of days without any human intervention.

    They also figured out that during hurricane season, the most selling product during hurricane warnings in affected cities are Pop Tarts. And in China, laundry detergent does not sell (because not many people have a washer), but laundry soap bars are a top seller.

    The data is all there for retailers to use, but it's just a matter of collecting it, and interpreting the data to make good business decisions. Okay, I've geeked out for long enough. icon_redface.gif
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    Jun 06, 2011 12:51 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidYou can't just expect to walk into a store and be accommodated at your own convenience. You also have to be a good customer.

    If your size is popular/very common then either ask the manager when they receive shipments of new items (so you can show up and be one of the first to buy the item in your size) or simply show up more frequently to the store and increase your odds of finding something that suits you.

    A store generally buys items in set quantities for retail. It would not behoove them to buy an excessive amount in a specific size and then wind up with too many that won't sell. This would mean they would have to have a clearance sale which means they lose out on money.

    Just remember this:

    Businesses do not exist to please the customer, businesses exist simply to make profit. The other option is to request that the store special order for you. But this would be at the store's discretion and they may deny you.


    Perhaps I am being totally naive. If a size is popular/very common, is that not a very obvious guide to the retailer in deciding what sizes to order and in what quantities? The popular/very common sizes hardly ever end up in the clearance sales. The unpopular/uncommon sizes almost always do. I know retail stocking is not an exact science, but how is it that so many retailers appear to be bereft of common sense? How on earth in successful retailing can 'not pleasing the customer' and 'making a profit' be mutually exclusive?
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    Jun 06, 2011 12:57 AM GMT
    Sparkycat saidAnd the people in Joplin, Missouri think they have problems!


    This.
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    Jun 06, 2011 1:13 AM GMT
    Mil8 saidYou have done your research. You have checked the reviews. You know exactly what you want to buy.

    You start searching online or in the stores. No one has the size you need. No one has the colour you want. They have one in stock, but it is not the model or design you were looking for.

    There is a global recession on and still retailers and manufacturers cannot manage to supply what you want to buy, whether it is a piece of technology or a pair of pants. Why don't they produce or stock more of what is popular and less of what is not? Is it just me?


    no it's not just you. do you know how difficult it is to find a pair of 29W trousers? you can freaking find a 42W or 46W but not 29W.
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    Jun 06, 2011 1:15 AM GMT
    Mil8 said
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidYou can't just expect to walk into a store and be accommodated at your own convenience. You also have to be a good customer.

    If your size is popular/very common then either ask the manager when they receive shipments of new items (so you can show up and be one of the first to buy the item in your size) or simply show up more frequently to the store and increase your odds of finding something that suits you.

    A store generally buys items in set quantities for retail. It would not behoove them to buy an excessive amount in a specific size and then wind up with too many that won't sell. This would mean they would have to have a clearance sale which means they lose out on money.

    Just remember this:

    Businesses do not exist to please the customer, businesses exist simply to make profit. The other option is to request that the store special order for you. But this would be at the store's discretion and they may deny you.


    Perhaps I am being totally naive. If a size is popular/very common, is that not a very obvious guide to the retailer in deciding what sizes to order and in what quantities? The popular/very common sizes hardly ever end up in the clearance sales. The unpopular/uncommon sizes almost always do. I know retail stocking is not an exact science, but how is it that so many retailers appear to be bereft of common sense? How on earth in successful retailing can 'not pleasing the customer' and 'making a profit' be mutually exclusive?


    You, the buying public, are a fickle bunch. Just when we think we have you figured out, you are on to the next thing. Most things you decide you want have been preplanned, and purchased months and months before they ever hit the shelves.

    I work in buying for a large retail chain, and I can honestly tell you that although we collect mounds and mounds of data about buying habits, demographics and regionality of all items in the store, you can't get everything right. The lead time to get product in the stores in the quantities we need (and we're nowhere near Wal-Mart in size) is at least 9 months if not longer. We have to make buying decisions for a season before the previous one is even over. It's hard to be make accurate buying decisions, when you have one hand tied behind your back.

    Trust me, the last thing I want is a pissed off customer because we don't have what they expect when they walk through the door. BUT, we also have to manage our inventories, minimize the need to clearance the stuff that doesn't sell, and maximizing the profit for the company AND the shareholders (they're the ones who ultimately decide if we stay in business or not).

    Thus endeth the Retail 101 lesson . . .
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    Jun 06, 2011 1:15 AM GMT
    I have to agree with the OP. Have the internal buyers of clothing chains been banned from their stores end of season sales and figures? I'm sure everyone here has noticed that the only size shirts left are XL, XXL and extra small, rotting at 75% off.

    Why is it unreasonable to think that retailers maybe ought to stock more quantities of popular sizes, seems more profitable to me.

    Regarding Joplin, yes what happened their is truly tragic. Many of my friends have volunteered their time there and come back with horror stories. I think the OP was just trying to bring some levity to the forums. As awful as the tragedy in Joplin was, it doesn't help those affected to fixate on their loss, or draw comparisons where there aren't any.
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    Jun 06, 2011 1:21 AM GMT
    hoosier_daddy said
    Mil8 said
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidYou can't just expect to walk into a store and be accommodated at your own convenience. You also have to be a good customer.

    If your size is popular/very common then either ask the manager when they receive shipments of new items (so you can show up and be one of the first to buy the item in your size) or simply show up more frequently to the store and increase your odds of finding something that suits you.

    A store generally buys items in set quantities for retail. It would not behoove them to buy an excessive amount in a specific size and then wind up with too many that won't sell. This would mean they would have to have a clearance sale which means they lose out on money.

    Just remember this:

    Businesses do not exist to please the customer, businesses exist simply to make profit. The other option is to request that the store special order for you. But this would be at the store's discretion and they may deny you.


    Perhaps I am being totally naive. If a size is popular/very common, is that not a very obvious guide to the retailer in deciding what sizes to order and in what quantities? The popular/very common sizes hardly ever end up in the clearance sales. The unpopular/uncommon sizes almost always do. I know retail stocking is not an exact science, but how is it that so many retailers appear to be bereft of common sense? How on earth in successful retailing can 'not pleasing the customer' and 'making a profit' be mutually exclusive?


    You, the buying public, are a fickle bunch. Just when we think we have you figured out, you are on to the next thing. Most things you decide you want have been preplanned, and purchased months and months before they ever hit the shelves.

    I work in buying for a large retail chain, and I can honestly tell you that although we collect mounds and mounds of data about buying habits, demographics and regionality of all items in the store, you can't get everything right. The lead time to get product in the stores in the quantities we need (and we're nowhere near Wal-Mart in size) is at least 9 months if not longer. We have to make buying decisions for a season before the previous one is even over. It's hard to be make accurate buying decisions, when you have one hand tied behind your back.

    Trust me, the last thing I want is a pissed off customer because we don't have what they expect when they walk through the door. BUT, we also have to manage our inventories, minimize the need to clearance the stuff that doesn't sell, and maximizing the profit for the company AND the shareholders (they're the ones who ultimately decide if we stay in business or not).

    Thus endeth the Retail 101 lesson . . .


    doesn't a business make a profit by pleasing its customers? do you work for the government? you better not own your own business.
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    Jun 06, 2011 1:34 AM GMT
    I know what you're talking about, especially with clothes, and it's horrible... it really doesn't make sense. And it's because most of the people making these decisions are off in offices somewhere, relying on spreadsheets to place their orders (for entire regions at that), and not actually relying on people in the stores point of view. I've worked in retail, and it was ridiculous what they would send. I mean, consistently sending 1 small, 2 medium of everything, but then we'd get in case fulls of XXL. Really, it made no sense, as they'd all end up on mega clearance until they finally sold at almost no profit. It was in no way profitable for them, it was just completely uneducated/haphazard buying on the company's part.

    I think a lot of it also has to do with making you come into the store more. And the whole idea of making something "special" if you're the one to get it. For instance, I went to H&M a few weeks ago, and everything was size 32 and up. I mean, it's H&M, come oooonnn. They have to know that a bunch of skinny twink boys are going to want their clothes, why are they only sending one pair of the 31, 30, 29.... so I did end up going back just a week later to check, and luckily got the last pair of some shorts in my size that had either been shipped or returned since I was there the week before. Also, they stopped making a 30 inseam in their pants, which really made me mad as a short guy. As if there are no short people shopping at their stores?

    Sorry this is turning into a rant, but you are right. If stores better catered to their customers needs, they most definitely would spend more money.
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    Jun 06, 2011 1:35 AM GMT
    Blackguy4you said
    hoosier_daddy said
    Mil8 said
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidYou can't just expect to walk into a store and be accommodated at your own convenience. You also have to be a good customer.

    If your size is popular/very common then either ask the manager when they receive shipments of new items (so you can show up and be one of the first to buy the item in your size) or simply show up more frequently to the store and increase your odds of finding something that suits you.

    A store generally buys items in set quantities for retail. It would not behoove them to buy an excessive amount in a specific size and then wind up with too many that won't sell. This would mean they would have to have a clearance sale which means they lose out on money.

    Just remember this:

    Businesses do not exist to please the customer, businesses exist simply to make profit. The other option is to request that the store special order for you. But this would be at the store's discretion and they may deny you.


    Perhaps I am being totally naive. If a size is popular/very common, is that not a very obvious guide to the retailer in deciding what sizes to order and in what quantities? The popular/very common sizes hardly ever end up in the clearance sales. The unpopular/uncommon sizes almost always do. I know retail stocking is not an exact science, but how is it that so many retailers appear to be bereft of common sense? How on earth in successful retailing can 'not pleasing the customer' and 'making a profit' be mutually exclusive?


    You, the buying public, are a fickle bunch. Just when we think we have you figured out, you are on to the next thing. Most things you decide you want have been preplanned, and purchased months and months before they ever hit the shelves.

    I work in buying for a large retail chain, and I can honestly tell you that although we collect mounds and mounds of data about buying habits, demographics and regionality of all items in the store, you can't get everything right. The lead time to get product in the stores in the quantities we need (and we're nowhere near Wal-Mart in size) is at least 9 months if not longer. We have to make buying decisions for a season before the previous one is even over. It's hard to be make accurate buying decisions, when you have one hand tied behind your back.

    Trust me, the last thing I want is a pissed off customer because we don't have what they expect when they walk through the door. BUT, we also have to manage our inventories, minimize the need to clearance the stuff that doesn't sell, and maximizing the profit for the company AND the shareholders (they're the ones who ultimately decide if we stay in business or not).

    Thus endeth the Retail 101 lesson . . .


    doesn't a business make a profit by pleasing its customers? do you work for the government? you better not own your own business.


    I try to make decisions based on what the manufacturer's tell me will be the newest, hottest items (colors, sizes, etc.) but I don't have a crystal ball. If I buy purple, pink, and blue widgets, invariably someone will want it in green or red. We use all the data at our disposal to make the most informed decision we can, but there's no way to have EVERY color and/or size available at all times. Otherwise our stores would have to be 100 times larger than they are, and we would have to buy 100 times more product than we should, just so someone doesn't bitch that we didn't have their color/size.

    Everything is seasonal, we have to be out of the old so we can bring in the new. I said before, we try to minimize the dissatisfaction, but there's no way to please everybody. Sorry folks, that's just the reality.
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    Jun 06, 2011 1:40 AM GMT
    The reality around these parts is that at the end of the season, the racks are still full of XL XXL and x small. No matter what the colors or styles are. I know that most major chains consign clothes from the manufacturer by the lot, the size percentages of these lots just seem to be askew! Just an observation.
  • conservativej...

    Posts: 2465

    Jun 06, 2011 1:50 AM GMT
    You may have geeked out, but it is called "market basket analysis." And it occurs from a data set on a most wonderful Teradata Data Warehouse......with data marts running on Oracle -- or as I prefer to say "Ora-cles."


    SoloXCRacer saidYou'd think it would be common sense, but not many companies have the capability to know which products sells and which ones don't. I remember seeing a documentary about Wal-Marts logistical center and they rival the US Military in logistics. They know which products sell more in certain regions and concentrate those products there, as opposed to other regions. When a certain product reaches a certain inventory threshold, an order automatically gets generated to restock that store. They'll have new inventory in a couple of days without any human intervention.

    They also figured out that during hurricane season, the most selling product during hurricane warnings in affected cities are Pop Tarts. And in China, laundry detergent does not sell (because not many people have a washer), but laundry soap bars are a top seller.

    The data is all there for retailers to use, but it's just a matter of collecting it, and interpreting the data to make good business decisions. Okay, I've geeked out for long enough. icon_redface.gif
  • turtleneckjoc...

    Posts: 4685

    Jun 06, 2011 2:01 AM GMT
    "They also figured out that during hurricane season, the most selling product during hurricane warnings in affected cities are Pop Tarts...."

    Oh really? Here in Orlando, it is usually bottled water, plywood, generators, peanut butter, bread, canned goods and insect repellent......Pop Tarts???
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    Jun 06, 2011 2:15 AM GMT
    Problem solved. It's like a treasure hunt every time I go.

    904119p1.jpg
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    Jun 06, 2011 2:49 AM GMT
    Retailers are probably the best solvers of optimization equations in the world. The customer is just one factor (albeit a big one). icon_lol.gif
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    Jun 06, 2011 2:57 AM GMT
    turtleneckjock said"They also figured out that during hurricane season, the most selling product during hurricane warnings in affected cities are Pop Tarts...."

    Oh really? Here in Orlando, it is usually bottled water, plywood, generators, peanut butter, bread, canned goods and insect repellent......Pop Tarts???


    Yes, Pop Tarts........and beer

    http://tinyurl.com/3zcmt8z
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    Jun 06, 2011 3:05 AM GMT
    Ravco saidThe reality around these parts is that at the end of the season, the racks are still full of XL XXL and x small. No matter what the colors or styles are. I know that most major chains consign clothes from the manufacturer by the lot, the size percentages of these lots just seem to be askew! Just an observation.


    This is so true. I wrote in my book on a shopping day at JCPenny, "what is this, the FAT people store?" Same happened looking for T-shirts the other day. Only XL and XXL left for the decent-looking ones.

    I wanted to write an article that talks specifically about the amount of business lost by lack of cashiers to check you out. I've walked out of stores and decided not to shop on that point alone.

    Let's face it, retailers are stupid fucks. And they wonder why they are having a hard time.
  • metta

    Posts: 39107

    Jun 06, 2011 6:06 PM GMT
    Most manufactures have had to reduce the number of products they offer, focusing more on items that are profitable for them to produce. Just because there are people that want to purchase an item does not mean that it makes sense for them to make it. It has to be profitable for them to do so. Inventory needs to move at a quick enough pace in order to be profitable. Inventory sitting on shelves costs money.
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    Jun 06, 2011 6:08 PM GMT
    metta8 saidMost manufactures have had to reduce the number of products they offer, focusing more on items that are profitable for them to produce. Just because there are people that want to purchase an item does not mean that it makes sense for them to make it. It has to be profitable for them to do so.


    So hoards of XL and XXL T-shirts sitting on the shelf is profitable?
  • metta

    Posts: 39107

    Jun 06, 2011 6:09 PM GMT
    ^
    of course not. I don't know why that store was like that. I'm not speaking about every situation. There are a lot of fat people out there....maybe that is who that store is trying to sell to.