Boutique owners may find it hard to figure out how much inventory to buy. You don’t want too much inventory as that can result in huge losses. If you don’t provide enough inventory, you’ll lose sales to people who are looking for an item you chose not to stock. Although buying inventory is not an exact science, you can create the right inventory with the help of a business plan and budget.
Focus on the target audience mentioned in your business plan. For example, for younger women, you might not need suits or conservative clothes, or any hats other than the very trendiest kind. For older women, focus on more conservative clothing that has a trendy bent.
Think about how much your target audience will spend by reviewing the price point outlined in your budget. Your inventory purchases should reflect customers' potential spending power. If your boutique is located where people spend money, provide more inventory. If your boutique is located in a less wealthy area, provide less inventory. That boutique in the wealthy area can provide inventory that’s higher priced than the boutique in the less wealthy area.
Understand how much of each item to keep in inventory. For clothing, most experts recommend buying 3 to 4 of each item in each size. You can probably keep fewer items in the less popular sizes, like a size 0 or 14. Clothing, however, loses its style quickly.
Track inventory and make buyer adjustments based on how the inventory moves. If you find that size 12 is particularly popular in your boutique, buy more of that size. If you rarely sell size 2, keep only one size 2 in each item. Adjust how you buy inventory for your boutique as well, if, for example, you find that some items are just not popular among your clientele.
If you keep a smaller inventory, decorate the store to avoid the space looking bare. Fill the walls with appropriate pictures or accessories, or provide a high fashion look with metals or mirrors.
Have sales to make space for new and fresh inventory.
Stay within budget. A big budget buster for small business owners is overspending on inventory.