What can we learn from some of the top retail brands in the world? While they always have newness & fashion styles on hand, if you look closely a lot of their inventory is made up of 'basic' bestsellers that are always in stock.
Basic doesn't always mean the same exact product though and can also be updated versions of a customer favourite. While known 'basics' retailer such as J. Crew may have close to 60% of 'basic' styles in their stock, even 'fashion' retailers such as Zara keep close to 15-25% of their stock in re-orderable 'basic' styles.
First step to stabilise your retail store or wholesale collection? Define what your 'basic' stock will be and ensure that you're able to keep the products in stock without any issues.
Here are some examples to get you thinking about what this stock could be made up of:
You're an online children's clothing boutique or shop that sources & carries the freshest brands. Many of your products are one of a kind or not re-orderable. Your 'basic' solution? Be sure to stock onesies, t-shirts, and leggings in 2 of your best selling colours from your top brand at all times. Pull them aside into a 'basics' category on your website or within your store. Evaluate seasonally, and aim to have this make up 10-15% of your inventory budget.
You're a handbag brand selling into small boutiques. The majority of your products are super colourful & made of alternative materials. Many are even one of kind. Your 'basic' solution? As much as it may pain you, develop a more timeless everyday product in a few neutral colours. Use the silhouettes or materials of your more 'fashion' driven items, but be sure to build some type of footprint in more timeless styles so that you're able to transition as trends change.
Once you pinpoint what the 'bread & butter' will be in your inventory and provide consistency, your customers will know they can turn to you for these products as well as for the exciting 'fashion' newness. This also provides massive stability to you as trends and consumer buying habits shift.
Feel free to reach out for a chat on how to make this work for your specific business model!