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How much inventory to order?

bellasophiabellasophia subscriber Posts: 1
edited April 2008 in Business Planning
I am developing an online gift boutique and do not know how many of each product to order.  I know there are many variables that contribute to the success of a Web site and traffic generated, but I am hoping someone can tell me what their start up experience was.  Any help would be much appreciated!


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    05mustang05mustang subscriber Posts: 2 Member
    I was in an inventory based business and this quite frankly is an area where you can really trip up and affect your finances.
    How much inventory to order depends on how quickly you can get replenishment.  I always looked for sources that could deliver product in a day or two so I didn`t have to carry more than a few days worth of inventory.
    My advice is to order conservative vs. overordering specially if you`re just getting your site set up.  It will take you a while to determine what items sell and those that just languish.
    Hope that helps.
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    bellasophiabellasophia subscriber Posts: 1
    Thank you for your advice.  I totally agree and want to be conservative, but do not know if I should order 5 or 25 the first time...any specific number advice?
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    minimegeologyminimegeology subscriber Posts: 26
    I agree with everything that has been said.  There is much to say about suppliers who can ship to you quickly.  One additional note that I would make is be careful how many you buy of holiday/seasonal and perishable items.  I have over bought those types of items and then you are really stuck because no one wants a Santa platter in April!  If you are just starting out, stick with items that you can sell any time of the year. 
    One thing that I have found it that it is better to have 5 each of 3 items and 1 each of 15.  Starting out with a smaller selection but having enough on hand if someone orders 2 or 3 at once is a good situation.  I hope this helps. 
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    bellasophiabellasophia subscriber Posts: 1

    Thank you all for taking the time to respond to my question.  Great advice about the shipping time frame--until your posts I hadn`t paid much attention to that crucial component. 

    Tracy--thank you for the specific number examples.  That was exactly the information I was looking for.  I checked out your Web sites--nicely done!


    If anyone else has inventory or start up advice, I`d love to hear it!
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    jessieb578jessieb578 subscriber Posts: 6
    Hi, this may be way out there, but I was looking into the wedding favor business and many of them would be drop shippers. Can you maybe find suppliers who could drop ship your products and then you don`t have an inventory at all??
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    WebJunkyWebJunky subscriber Posts: 8 Member
    how serious are you about your business?
    the reason i ask is because many serious business owners would purposely locate their business close to the source of the product.  this allows for just in time inventory.  this is assuming that your systems in place are sophisticated enough to tell you what you have on hand currently.  this can be a daily manual process, but as long as someone is doing it you should know what you have and what you need (based on business flow/trends).
    keep in mind the seasonality factor. when do you sell the most? what type of product do you sell most/when? you made the post in april and i am assuming you have some idea of summer/fall trends so far.  let a year go by and you should know the full season cycle for your business.
    try to strike deals with warehouses nearby to save on a large capital investment.  i was in the ecommerce business not long ago and i had a combination going. i had a drop shipping agreement and for products i knew were rare/hard to get i stocked up on inventory. that way i only had to shell a little bit for inventory and therefore limiting my exposure.
    good luck
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