How to Effectively Plan Your Product Assortment for Profit with Kristin Fisher

How to Effectively Plan Your Product Assortment for Profit with Kristin Fisher

Episode 139 of the Product Powerhouse podcast is all about how to effectively plan your product assortment for maximum profits with Kristin Fisher from BOCU. 

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In this episode of the Product Powerhouse Podcast, Kristin Fisher from BOCU is sharing the steps she takes to plan an effective product assortment to maximize your profits and how to move inventory that didn’t sell well. 

In this episode Kristin and I chat about:

  • Making decisions in your business based on sales data
  • Planning your product assortment whether you run a brick and mortar or you have a handmade business
  • How much we both believe in testing and experimenting in our businesses and using everything as a learning opportunity

Be sure to tune in to past episodes to hear more  practical tips on growing your product shop.

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Show Notes

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TRANSCRIPT

 

Hey there. Welcome to another episode of the Product Powerhouse podcast. I am really excited to chat with a new guest today. So today I have on the podcast Kristin Fisher. Kristin is the founder and CEO of the Gifting Brand Boku, and she is a retail strategy coach for makers and independent retailers. With both a profitable six figure business in over 15 years of experience as a buyer for companies like Urban Outfitters. She is a retail industry expert on a mission to support female entrepreneurs and makers in their business journey from hobby to scale. you guys. I love Kristin. Told her I think we were long lost best friends because she's just so fun and she shares so much knowledge with us in this episode about buying, about creating an assortment, which isn't even something I knew about before talking to Kristin.

I hadn't heard that term. I'm so excited for you to get to know Kristin. You're gonna wanna follow her in all the places she is. Just incredible. 

Kristin is also going to be a speaker at the ultimate product party in Nashville. This may, where I am also going to be a speaker. The ultimate product party. AKA UPP is a two day event that was created just for product sellers. Next week I have on the podcast, an interview with Alison and cat, who are the creators of the ultimate product party, but I wanted to put a bug in your ear now because this party is going to be so fun. It's a education conference slash party. 

Some of the other speakers I've also had on this podcast, like Lauren Caplinger, of course, Alison has been on here talking about PR. It's going to be the most fun event. You've ever gone to. So if you've been thinking about it, you have no idea what I'm talking about. 

Go to a product powerhouse.co/upp for all the details. Or of course you can just check the link in the show notes, but definitely check out the ultimate product party. We want to see you there. 

You're listening to Product Powerhouse, a podcast to inspire and empower you while you build a powerful product-based business that fuels your passion and feeds your family. I'm your host, Aaron Alexander. I run an e-commerce web design agency that helps shop owners, build, grow, and scale. This podcast is all about actionable strategies specifically for your product-based business.

So friend, grab a nice coffee and let's chat because DIYing your business doesn't mean you have to do it alone.

Erin Alexander: Hi Kristin. Thank you so much for being on the podcast.

How are you today?

Kristin Fisher: Hi. Thank you for having me. I'm awesome. So excited to be here.

Erin Alexander: I am so excited you are here. We are going to be talking about all sorts of things for product-based businesses, but let's start with who you are and what you do.

Kristin Fisher: Yeah, so my name's Kristin Fisher. I am the founder of the Gifting Brand Boku, and I'm also a retail coach for product-based business owners. So anyone from makers to independent retailers. I work with them to really strategize their product assortment to drive more profit in their business.

Erin Alexander: That is incredible. Everyone wants more profit. I want more profit

Kristin Fisher: Yes, me too.

Erin Alexander: And you have a, you have a strong background in the corporate world. Like how did that, how did this lead, how did that lead to this?

Kristin Fisher: Yeah, so I have over 15 years of experience working in corporate retail. Majority of my career was spent as a buyer, but I also dabbled in design and product development and sourcing, and I just worked my way through the industry and landed on buying. So I worked for brands like Urban Outfitters and Landsend and J Elk so really spanning different types of customer bases.

And when I got Gage, so it would be like 2017 is when I got married. So around that time I was getting this itch where I felt like I wanted to do something for myself that was a creative outlet, not to leave my corporate job, but I was just feeling a little burnt out and I wanted something fun and exciting and I think it was like the post wedding blues of just wanting something fun to focus on.

And so I decided to launch Boku and really it came out of a need for. At the same time that I was going through this big life experience with being engaged and getting married and on the receiving end of gifts simultaneously, a lot of my own friends were experiencing big life events. And I found that it was really expensive and difficult to send a gift to somebody that had expectation for packaging, but also wasn't breaking the bank.

So that's why I really started my business and I was just doing it on the side while still working as a buyer. And it kept growing, and then I started doing custom gifting projects and catapulted me in 2020 to the point where I felt like I needed to make the decision to either stay as a corporate buyer and just suppress the growth with Boku or just lean into it and take the risk and the leap.

And that's what I did. So in 2021, I went full-time in Boku or working on Boku and. I realized once I could step away from the corporate buying side, that really intense job and I was able to just focus on my business. I realized that I had applied all these corporate retail strategies and concepts to my own small business and it is how I was able to be profitable from year one.

And it's something I didn't really realize until I stepped away and I was like, this felt so natural for me. But everybody that I'm talking to that's coming to me for advice is asking me questions that I thought it was were common knowledge, which they're clearly not. It was just me not being able to see through the weeds at the time.

And so that's when I started coaching more coaching in a way that was more constructed and could actually make an impact on people. And so that's where the coaching side of the business was born. I've really been doing a lot more of that this year. It's so much fun and rewarding for me.

Erin Alexander: Wow, that's really fun. I love that. I have that same realization actually even not that long ago where I was like I work in e-commerce and wait a minute, I have a ton of experience that, it just, oh, it's a different world, but it all applies. I was like, oh yeah, that's why I know the things I know.

I gotcha.

Kristin Fisher: Yeah. You start to realize okay, these things that I just take for granted or think are common knowledge really aren't, and so something so specialized in technical like web development, you probably have a world of knowledge that would blow my mind. I know the tip of the iceberg for just managing my own Shopify site.

There's things that you just think are common knowledge and they're really not. I found that people were continuously DMing me and asking questions or asking. For advice on things and there were common themes that kept coming up and I'm like, what? I need to actually do something with this.

Not necessarily, oh, I need to make money off of this, but more, I wanna actually be able to help people and dig into their business and figure out how to help them and take these things that I know and apply them to their small businesses. So that's how that happened.

Erin Alexander: I feel such a kinship with other women who are running businesses. Like I want every woman who wants to have their own business to succeed and take over the world and if I can tell you one thing, then I will like anything I can tell you one time I went into this local boutique, they closed down now, but they were trying to figure out how to post something on Instagram and like they didn't know how and I was like, oh, I'll show you.

They're like, what are you like some kind of social media person? I was like, no, I'm a web designer

Kristin Fisher: No, but I just can help you.

Erin Alexander: but I know how to use Instagram. 

Kristin Fisher: I've helped other gifting businesses with their business. I know it's so like cliche and cheesy to say, but there's so much room for all of us. There is so much market share out there. Just because I have my own gifting business doesn't mean I'm not willing to share with you how to make your gifting business profitable because you live in a different area.

You have a different customer base, you have a different aesthetic. There are just there's so much money out there that we can all grab. Like just think about if we could take the tiniest piece of Amazon's sales and split it across like how many small women owned businesses could have life-changing income.

If they could just take 1% of Amazon sales, right? We could split that among so many of us. 

Erin Alexander: absolutely. Oh, I love that so much. That is like why I do what I do. I have this line. That I like to say, like when I'm talking about my business, I'm like, I help you build a business that fuels your passion and feeds your family. Because like you can absolutely create a business that is like from your heart and soul and the things you love that is profitable.

To, run your family to pay for your groceries. And even beyond that, my husband was let go from his job in 2020 and he didn't work for a long time. He works part-time now and all of the rest of our income comes from my company. And like when I started my business, we had nothing.

So it's just like incredible what women can do when they put their minds to it. And I just love being a cheerleader. I hate that word, like cheerleader sounds cheesy, but for other women doing this if I could cheer you on, I will do it

Kristin Fisher: Yes. I completely agree. And I think that's, it's such a fulfilling way to live your life because if you're just focused on yourself it's not very rewarding. At least for me. It's not, I'm not just sitting here thinking about how I can make more money. It's really helping other people see success is rewarding for me in other ways, so it's, I just firmly believe in that

Erin Alexander: Yeah. I love that. I know we're a little off topic, but I think this is so important and I know that people listening are like yes. Because the women who listen to my podcast feel the exact same way. I know that for sure.

Kristin Fisher: Yeah. You've created a community of people that believe in that. So yeah, we can get back on topic, but I could, I could literally talk about this all day. you keep me

Erin Alexander: love it. So we're talking today about assortment tips to maximize your profit through your product offering. And I feel like that's a mouthful that maybe people don't quite understand. So can you break this down? What's an assortment? In the first place.

Kristin Fisher: Okay. All right. Let's start with the basics. The assortment. The assortment is the product that you're offering, and the reason it's called an assortment is because you have to take all the product choices that you have and assort them. The act of choosing product for your store or for your line is assorting.

You are taking all the choices and you're saying, here's what's right for my customer, or, here's what's right for my brand to sell to buyers, to be in their stores like this is, it's the I that you have as a buyer, as the owner of your business or as your, as the maker of the designer. It's your I and your filter to say, here are all my choices, but here are the ones that I know are right for my brand.

So it's Assorting Doubt and it's your assortment offering.

Erin Alexander: I understand that it's used in like bigger stores, but it's so critical for even makers. Like maybe there's something that you really wanna make, but you have to decide is this part of what my brand is about? Is this aligned with my ideal audience? If not, how can I make it that?

Like I, I feel like there's a part where you should absolutely make the things you're super excited to make, but you also have to make smart decisions for your brand and your company. What's gonna sell, what people are looking for from you.

Kristin Fisher: Yeah. And I think when you first start out, you wanna try a bunch of things because you have no data. So if you wanna say, okay, I'm gonna buy all the things that I like, start with that. Sure. Buy everything you like and you're gonna quickly see that your customers continuously are gravitating towards certain things.

And so it's about how you build upon that information and continue to. Make those decisions for future assortments, future product offerings, future deliveries based on what your customer is telling you. If you're continuously saying, Nope, I, you're telling me this, but I really want you to go this direction, you're pushing against the grain, nine times out of 10 it's not gonna work.

That's not to say that you can't continue to test and try new things, cuz you always should be doing that. But the bulk of your product offering is going to come from those things that are like the best sellers. The things you know are gonna drive volume, which then means you're gonna drive more profit.

So it's really having that vision for what you want the customer to experience when they come in your store, when they go on your website or they look at your line sheet, what's the story that you're telling and what is your brand? Your brand identity. And that has to come through in the product.

Erin Alexander: Yeah, I have an example of someone that I've worked with for a long time. I'm not gonna give away too much, but they wanted to expand their line from what they were known for. And they really just, it was a great idea, but they didn't plan and execute very well. And those things ended up not selling basically at all, because it wasn't executed, it wasn't in line with the brand and it wasn't what they were known for.

And I feel like you could absolutely expand and increase, but you've gotta be really strategic about it. You have to plan ahead, you have to think about the process and then, be willing to shift gears or, adjust when things aren't going well.

 It's so critical. For, for us as business owners to make those decisions smartly, like smartly, is that a word?

Kristin Fisher: It's today

Erin Alexander: It is 

Kristin Fisher: to smart decisions. There you. 

Erin Alexander: and yes, you can pivot. Yes, you can change, but we've got to think about it is if we want to like at least maintain what we're doing, if you're okay with starting over, then that's just completely something different, right?

Kristin Fisher: And so people ask me this often and so I'll tell you what I tell them whenever they say, I'm a maker and I make, let's say you have a body care line and you're known for your back bombs, but you wanna explore a new product category within that.

It needs to one, be a nice friend to what you already have doing. So if you make body care and all of a sudden you're like, I'm gonna make greeting cards, makes absolutely no sense . And the buyers that come to you are not gonna buy that. They're gonna be confused. So it needs to be a complimentary item, but it also should probably be a little bit different to give people a reason to buy both.

So it should be an opportunity to increase your order value, not take away from your best sellers. So that's something to. Look at when bringing in a new product line. It could be something that you have come up with in your brain based on what you're seeing out in the market, what's trending, or just something that you've created or come up with.

You can start to ask your customers questions people love to be included in your decision making process. It'll make them feel more connected to your brand. And so start putting teasers out there. Start asking, Hey, are you interested in this? Or, ask questions to get them engaged with you and see if that can give you enough data.

If that isn't an option for you or you don't wanna spill the beans in advance, you can bring in, a different product line that maybe is similar to that to just test out and see if people are responding to those like items before you make the investment.

Of of going after your own product, that you're designing that in that vein or bringing in a ton of inventory. Leave some money open and you're open to buy a budget so that you can test those kinds of things before you just like full on, come out with this huge line and how to be a gradual rollout versus a giant investment

Erin Alexander: These are such great tips. It's just so precise doing things. I'm the opposite. I am so impulsive and I'd be like, yeah, buy a thousand dollars worth of those bananas. I don't know. It, I just wouldn't make sense. And so it's so smart to, really test the market. Really Test your audience. Pull your audience. That's so just so darn smart. I'm blown away.

Kristin Fisher: We are all creatives in this. Not all of us, a lot of us are creatives in this industry. If you are obviously, if you're a maker, you're supremely creative and you have, oftentimes, I found my maker clients have a really hard time reigning it in because they just wanna create and there you can create, but then edit for your line.

There's a difference between, you have to have that vision whenever you start your own, e-com store or a brick and mortar store. You do it because you love product, but that doesn't mean you bring in everything. You really have to reign it in and it takes time to really lay the groundwork and figure out how to edit and be.

Make smarter decisions. We're both struggling with the word smart today.

Erin Alexander: Yes. Yeah. I'm thinking of you really have to cultivate your product line and your offerings. Every season, every week, every day you're gonna be learning and like getting to know your customer base better, how it expands and how it grows. That's the same thing.

Goodness sakes. But it's just so clever. I just, now I wanna go start a boutique No. Bad idea Aaron. Bad idea. . Yes. So how do you, what do you recommend for someone who's trying to figure out like how many choices they need? How much do they put on their website? How do they do inventory? Or like, how do they purchase inventory?

This feels overwhelming to me as someone who has no experience in this. So what do they do to get started?

Kristin Fisher: I think it's overwhelming for everybody. Inventory is this, so I'll be honest, it is an elusive thing that I think every shop owner will tell you is one of the biggest challenges. And the reason for that is systematically inventory is tough. And especially as a small business owner, there aren't a lot of resources out there for us that are affordable to truly manage and projector inventories who becomes manual.

And you have to really stay on top of it. The very first thing to figure out, your overall choice count. I think that's the first place to start is understanding how many choices you need in your store or on your website. And you need to treat your website like a store too.

It can't be a free for all. The first thing that I always tell people to do is start with exporting your sales from Shopify and look at a specific time period. Don't just pull the whole year. That's way too much information. Pull a quarter at a time a floor set at a time, a holiday time period.

Just look at an isolated point in time where you have enough selling and you had a collection. Take a look at that and start to look at, okay, here are my, obviously my best sellers. Here are my worst sellers. That's like the very first easy thing that people are probably already doing.

And if you're not, start there, but take a look at, okay, what percent of my offer is driving 80% of my sales? Usually it's about 20% of your choice count, maybe 30 depending on, your offer. What makes up those top products? And then conversely, what's making up the bottom 20% of your products?

And start to really look at the the types of products, and they're really called attributes. Bucketing them into attributes. Meaning, okay, look first at the price points, are they the best sellers? High price points, low price points, mid-price points. Then you can look at things like print and pattern if you sell apparel, you could look at category types. So if you are a stationary company, is it, your cards are really good, but you're not selling any of your pens start to break things out into product attributes that are customer facing. And that really is gonna start to tell you what types of products to be assorting more into.

And it helps you really balance your assortment. So once you have an idea of how many skew counts or choice counts, you need to actually drive your volume. From there you can say, okay, if 15 products, I'm making this up, drove. 80% of my sales for holiday last year that I had 60, I invested in 60 products.

That means I can't do math right now. 45 products only did 20% of my sales. I'm really making these numbers up, but it's just generalizing. That means you've had a lot of unproductive inventory and a lot of investment that you were probably figuring out how to mark down, how to move through at the end of the season.

You were pulling off your website to sell again this year which is the tip if you're not sure what to do with it. You wanna start to, to get really clear on how much you actually need. And then from there, figuring out how much inventory, depth wise you need from an investment perspective.

That's whenever, like future planning, you get better and better at this. But you just look at your sales plan and you wanna figure out how much you need to sell to protect the top, to protect those 15 styles that drove 80% of your sales. In my example, How much volume do you need there, and then how much money's left in your budget.

If you only need, a total of 30 or 40 skews, then you can start to really narrow down and just buy minimums on some things. Just to balance out your attribute buckets. I know this is a lot of complicated things, and this is why I work with people one-on-one, because it is complicated, but you have to start somewhere.

So you have to start with having a sales plan and understanding how many choices you need for your customer to choose from to actually drive your volume.

Erin Alexander: What you're saying, it does seem complicated, especially I don't deal with that at all. I'm not a product-based business, or my products are digital, but I understand this concept of people talk to us all the time, like entrepreneurs about knowing your numbers.

And I think it's so critical for product-based business owners to know their numbers of like how much inventory they should be carrying or how much profit they're making on each item. And if they don't do this process, like if they don't sit down and look at the data that they can get from their orders or from, their collections, all these things that you're telling us about, they don't have those numbers.

And so they're just kind going at it blindly.

I think There's so much empowerment when you go at it from like a data-driven decision and looking at the numbers and seeing what you know, like creating projections. I know the first year someone taught me how to make projections.

I was like, whoa, and so there's just so much you can learn from looking at things like you're talking about. So objectively seeing where they fall on the scale of how much did we sell this quarter, that quarter, whatever it is. I think that's really critical to sustainable growth.

Kristin Fisher: I completely agree. I mean it, it really is so empowering whenever you look at the data and you feel confident going into your next BI cycle because you understand. Where your profit is coming from, and it helps you to take the emotion out of things. If you're a really creative person, you often have an emotional attachment to the things that you're designing or developing into, or the product that you're buying.

If you love product and you go to a trade show, it's so overwhelming because it's just hundreds of brands showing you their latest and greatest line that you've never seen yet. It's so exciting, but it allows you to say, just because I love this, my customers are telling me repeatedly that they don't like that, or that they don't want that, or that they do love that.

And I can feel really confident saying, this is gonna be my number one style, and I'm actually gonna put more depth behind this. I think the next level in your business is whenever you can stop buying minimums and you can start taking steps out and taking a stand on what your top products are gonna be, and really investing in them and saying, , by investing in these, I'm not gonna be buying all this other random stuff because you're saying, I know these are gonna sell and I'm taking that chance.

And then you're gonna make sure your marketing covers all of that. That you are continuously, repeatedly going back to those, when someone walks in the front door and they're looking for something, you can guide them to your top investments. And that's like a focus not only for you as a business owner, but also the staff in the store, your marketing intern, the people that you outsource your creative to.

They can take your top investments and say, we're pushing this season because, Erin, the buyer told me that this is what she stood behind, and so it gives you a purpose and a direction going into your next season. And I just, I'm a very equally balanced, creative, and analytical person, and this is like my wheelhouse is the product and profit

I could talk about it passionately all day.

Erin Alexander: I love it. I feel like a lot of people listening, like when we're talking, it feels like we're talking to maybe a store owner, a boutique owner, someone who carries wholesale, which is great. There's a lot of listeners who do that, and there's also a lot of listeners who are handmade business owners, and I feel like there's a lot of this that you can take and apply to your own business.

Kristin Fisher: Absolutely.

Erin Alexander: For example, I have one client who has this one ring that is like their top seller, and it's a very unique style. They started saying oh, maybe we should start making other variations of this same ring with like different stones. I'm like, yes. This is how you use the data to make decisions in your designs.

And that type of information and that data that you can get is still applicable when you're just a handmade business. I say just I don't mean it like that. I so much power in handmade business owners, but you can still apply the same thought process and like strategic planning when you're thinking about new product lines that you wanna create, designs you wanna create, how do we take this information that we've gotten?

What are our best sellers and how do we use that to think about our next product?

Kristin Fisher: your next collection. Yeah, absolutely. That's the perfect example by taking something that's a best seller and doing iterations of it. Whether it's like gold and rose, gold and silver, giving different finishes, different stone colors like you said, or thinking about complimentary items that would get them to buy that ring.

And maybe it's like a layering chain that is a friend to that or earrings or, I don't know, I'm making this up. But, just other things that could tie into that, that would get them to purchase more than one. Cause I think our goal is to always have people buying more. So you want your UPTs, your units per transaction, and your average order value to go up.

You always want it to go up, right? Because you wanna make more money. So thinking about how you can create bundles or, additional items that can be friends to one another. That's always the goal. With handmade business owners, with makers, it really thinking about how many choices you are designing into because your time is directly related to the product that you're selling.

So if you're making jewelry, how much time does it take to make each of those? So how much time do you really have in a day? If you wanna be making around the clock, then sure, but you probably don't, cuz you're also running a business. You're wearing all the hats and so you have to really think about how many choices do you wanna have on your website or on your line sheet.

Because as you grow and you're selling more and more of those, it's gonna be hard to be to sustainably grow with that. So you have to look at your time as it applies, as as well as just your offer and the investment.

Erin Alexander: Yeah, I think that this is like a good kind of gentle, tough love reminder for business owners, that there is so much of it that is about creating what you love, but also if you are gonna do it as a business, then you have to do it strategically and you have to think about those things. And so there's definitely a careful balance and you can create the things you love along with planning a product line.

Kristin Fisher: exactly. You have all these really amazing ideas and you still wanna allow room and space for yourself to be creative, you can do really small mini runs of things and have like web exclusives or just do, for your email list only, really cultivate, your community and give them things that are just exclusive to them.

It allows you to still create but not rely on those things to drive your volume. So there's ways to not be all business, all day. Still have that creative outlet because you never want it to turn into a chore or a business that drains you, especially whenever you're a creative maker.

Erin Alexander: Oh gosh. I feel like this is I'm like in love with this. I'm also like equally parts left brain and right brained, , I'm, I would say I'm even more like analytical than creative, even as a designer, because I don't care if things are like super fancy, I want them to look good, but I also love like the data and anyways,

Kristin Fisher: Yeah.

Erin Alexander: But, so I feel like I could talk about this forever, but you did touch on something a few like minutes ago that I wanted to bring up again, and that was like, what do you do if you have product that isn't moving or isn't selling? Like maybe you did go all in on something and it didn't pay off. What are you supposed to do with it?

Kristin Fisher: This is definitely a tough one, and sometimes you need to get creative, so it's completely dependent upon what the situation is. So I would say is it reusable? Is it something that could be reusable? Meaning do you think that it would sell at a different point in time? So for example, let's say you brought in a ton of red product or holiday, and your customer clearly picked their favorites.

Okay, great, but now you have a ton left over. Can you pull it off your website and either hold it until next holiday? Are you comfortable carrying that level of inventory for a full year? If you are, then do that and try and re merchandise it next year. Or can you turn it into a Valentine's Day collection or a 4th of July collection?

Can you do something different with it? Because sometimes it's just about maybe you had too many choices and the customer was a little overwhelmed, and so they just picked their favorites. Doesn't mean they didn't like it, it just meant that they picked their favorites. So can you, is it viable inventory that can be.

in a future season. And if that's the case, I would take it off the floor. I'd pull it off your website and just set it aside and then bring it back as brand new in a couple of months, or take it to a market or something. If you're a handmade business, if it is clearly a dog and just not gonna sell, you have to get comfortable with marking it down to move.

And when I say marking it down to move, I don't mean shaving 10% off and hoping for the best because at the end of the day it's not gonna move. If they didn't like it at full price, they're not gonna like it at 10% off. They're not gonna probably like it at 15% off. So you can, you could start at a place that you're more comfortable with and then be comfortable taking maybe a second markdown on it.

But you have to do it timely because if it is specific to a season summer inventory, for example, you gotta just go deep quickly because it's still going to be a relevant time period for it to sell. If it's something that you feel like could live longer, then okay, maybe do a first markdown.

If it doesn't move, then go deeper. But your best bet is to just go deep and move it, because money is money. So at the end of the day, if it's not gonna sell, then it's just gonna be sitting there taking up money that you could be investing back in the business. You have to be comfortable with marking it down.

There are other things that you can do too. If you have, a opportunities for bundles on your site, you could take different like products and package them together to. Have a mini bundle that could sell. You could also, if you have a brick and mortar store, do things like end of season sales and make a big event out of it.

I just worked with a client where she had a lot of inventory from 12 months or older that she was just sitting on, and it was just completely overtaking her, not only her stockroom, but also her mental space. She was, it was really weighing on her. And so we just strategically worked through how to price those things and how to bucket them and how to show it to the customer.

And she collaborated with other business owners, made an event out of it, and she moved through 80% of what she had been sitting on for over a year because she made it feel exciting. And so you just have to get creative and get comfortable with just getting down and dirty and moving the inventory. It's a tough game when things don't sell, especially whenever you really believed in it. You gotta just take the emotion out.

Erin Alexander: I am thinking of this TikTok trend they're like, what's something you expected to sell like crazy and what's something that actually did sell like crazy? And they're never the same thing. So that's what I'm like popped in my brain as we were thinking of this. But those are such great tips.

I know it's. There are people listening who are sitting on inventory, whether it's a candle scent that didn't sell or whatever, give a bonus.

Kristin Fisher: Yeah. Yes. Gift. Yes. You know what? Gift of purchase, there's so many things you could do. Mystery boxes mystery gift of purchase, or an actual gift of purchase. There's a myriad of things you can do. And just because I teach on this does not mean that I don't also have this. None of us have a crystal ball.

We're constantly trying to be one step ahead of our customer to give them the newest and the greatest things, but that doesn't always mean it's gonna land, right? And we don't have a crystal ball. We can't read the future unfortunately. So I still have to deal with this in my own business too, and it's just about saying, all right, what am I doing with this inventory I have now?

And how am I changing what I. On order, or how am I changing what I thought my future assortments should look like based on this knowledge that I have now about this item that was horrific

Erin Alexander: One of the things that you and I talked about before we started recording was that in our business things are experiments like. This is a learning process. This is what I learned from whatever the thing is. And I think that's something that everyone should remember when they get stuck with inventory or, a lot of times my friend will be like, oh, no one purchased this new collection I put up. And it's okay. So it was an experiment. It doesn't mean anything about you. It just means the facts are that, something didn't hit right with your audience. And so you can adjust and learn from that, and then next time it'll be better. And if it's not, then you get to try again.

Like it's not a personal flaw, it's just a learning experience. And if you approach things in your business as learning experiences, you'll be much happier with the outcomes.

Kristin Fisher: Yes. That is really good advice because we're constantly, I like you said, we were talking about this just before. We're constantly learning and trying new things, and if you're not doing that, then you've gotta be bored,

it's all about just trying new things. And that's why I said earlier when you're going to try something new, don't buy a ton in it or don't make a ton in it.

Just test it out first and kinda dip your toe. And sometimes if you do make a mistake with investing too much, then. Just figure out how to get rid of it and move on. Know that you learned a little bit more about your customer, in the process.

Erin Alexander: So true. Is there any other last minute tips that you want to talk about for picking your assortment, choosing your products, maximizing your profits, anything like that?

Kristin Fisher: There's a lot of things we could talk about. So let me think here. I would say, one thing that I talked to a lot people about, and this is more for, let's say it's less for handmade business owners, but it it could still apply. It's whenever you're assorting your product, I think it is really key, and I touched on this with having your attribute buckets, but it's really key to have a balanced assortment and have a mix of things that play off of one another.

Having your that point of view on what your store is or what your brand is, really being clear on that. And then saying, when I'm looking at my product offer, what I'm designing into, how am I balancing this so it's not all sitting in one of those buckets. I don't have all really high price plans, so I'm not making only rings or I'm not doing all animal prints because your store, your website, your line sheet will look crazy.

So looking at things from a balance perspective and offering a range of colors and things that tie together, but give your customer reasons to buy multiples, that is I think something to always go back to with that balance that I think is really key.

Erin Alexander: this is something I struggle with in my own business. I'm like, oh, I want to create this thing. But it's like, how does that tie into everything else you do? And so even for someone not selling products or I guess mine are digital products, it's like it took me some time to figure out how to make the things coordinate or be cohesive.

And so I completely understand what you're saying and I completely understand it in that perspective. And I feel like having that well-rounded, balanced assortment really is gonna help drive up your average order value. It's going to, help what did you call it? Units per something,

Kristin Fisher: yeah. Units for transaction. 

You know what? It goes back to coming full circle with our conversation. It goes back to the very first thing we were talking about, which is I was doing this kind of with my eyes closed because I've been doing it for more than a decade, almost two decades now, and in my corporate career.

And I was like, oh my gosh what I'm doing, A lot of people who even run successful businesses, don't do this or don't know this. So if you're successful and you're not doing this, think about how much more successful you could be. You could be making so much more money in your business if you even just take the first step to start looking at, balancing out your assortment and bucketing, having an inventory plan.

There's so many little things you could start doing now to make your business even more successful. So it's just you start to open your eyes to realize, oh my gosh, for me, I'm doing this all the time and it's what I'm doing in my own small business. I think I could help other people with this because it is not common knowledge.

 When you think about, okay, what does this mean after I start doing these best practices, it doesn't just mean, okay, you're investing less money in your inventory, not less money, sorry. You're being more strategic about what you're investing in because you have less choice counts.

So there's that. But also think about what that means just from a process perspective and streamlining your actual operational side of your business. It's less products that you have to write copy for, photograph, upload to your website. It's less products that your social media team needs to be shooting or yourself, if you're a solopreneur, which so many of us are it's just less workload that goes into tracking the orders.

If you are buying from a wholesale or a. Tracking that it's, it goes, it ties into so many different things. So you're really streamlining your business not only from a investment perspective, but also just your time. 

Erin Alexander: I think it's also really normal, to realize that they're not a part of a balanced thing, or maybe they're not perfectly strategically placed or whatever.

Like for me, my quarter four goal isn't to create anything new. It's to optimize the stuff I already have. I just wanna be little bit more efficient, a little bit more effective at what I'm doing. So for me, it's like plugging the holes in my funnels, right? But for some of product-based business owners, it could be I need to double down on making the Apple honey crisp scent soap and cut out lavender. As you keep going in business, you learn better strategies and you learn how to optimize. 

Kristin Fisher: Yeah, and you start to think my time is also money, so your profit isn't just the sales of your product and how much money you make at the end of the day. From that, it's also your time. And so you need to really, especially for Ham, a business owners, you really have to look at your time and how goes into every single product that you're bringing in or that you're making, and like, how can you be more efficient with that?

And it then ties into your marketing and being more, clear to your customers on what you're standing behind. You're probably gonna see your sales go up just from having a stronger point of view with your assortment and really going after those top products that you invested in. It all ties together where your product, whether you're a product business owner or a service provider, or you sell digital products, it all it's all tied in it, on being streamlined.

Erin Alexander: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I feel like you and I could talk forever. Like we were lo we are long lost friends because this conversation has been so fun and easy. So I have two questions for you. So the first one is I ask everyone who's on the podcast the same question and that is, what is something that you are currently learning in your own business?

Because I to show or tell, I guess everyone who's listening, like, it doesn't matter what industry we're in, what we do, who we are, how long we've been in business. We're always constantly learning and growing and evolving. So do you mind sharing with us something you're currently working on in your own business?

Kristin Fisher: So I will say is not marketing. Um, So I love the product side and I know a lot about marketing, but actually applying it to my own business from like an email segmentation perspective, I use Clavio for boku. And just as I'm leveling up the business, we've been growing so rapidly, I really have realized that what worked a year ago isn't gonna work anymore I have more eyes on the business and the business has been more diversified.

So I've been working with Carrie Fitzgerald on, so she has the e-commerce society and she's like a marketing genius. And so we've been working on segmentation and email opportunities within and that's just been really awesome, because it's. I love learning from other people that are in the product-based business world because just because I know a lot about one thing does not mean I know a lot about everything, and so I'm really excited to just like we were talking about with having data in your assortment, feeling more confident with understanding how to segment more effectively is giving me the confidence to do it more frequently, if that makes sense.

Erin Alexander: Absolutely. Yeah. I love Carrie. we both live in Washington. She's just like three hours from me, but she's so smart. She's so good with strategies and marketing, and I completely understand. I love marketing, but I put it last it feels like it's, I don't know, it's like so important, but for me, I feel like I gotta do my client stuff, like they're the most important doing is 

Kristin Fisher: I realized that I was kind of doing the same. Kind of formula and things are just constantly changing. And my business has changed. My business has grown so much, and like, I really need to just level this up. Level it up, but I need an outside perspective because. It's so important to invest in yourself and invest in your business, because sometimes you just need an outside set to look at it and be like, well, have you thought about it this way?

You're why. Because that's genius. It's so important to always be learning. So that's what I'm doing 

Erin Alexander: Yes. I love it. The last thing I want to do before we go is tell everyone where they can find you. Where can they hang out with you? Where can they check out boku? 

Kristin Fisher: Yeah, so pretty much everything for me is at Shop Boku, which is B O C U, so shop boku.com or at Shop Boku Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest all the places. So you can go there if you wanna send a gift or if you wanna work with me one-on-one. There's a retail coaching tab, so you can go there.

Erin Alexander: Yes, we will have the link to your website and your Instagram and all the social media in the show notes. So if you're looking for that, you can connect with Kristin. The links are in our show notes. Check out her gifts. Thank you so much, Kristin, for just like sharing so openly and pouring out all of your knowledge. Like I feel so much smarter now, and I want to learn more about this. I love that strategic side of business, but I'm so grateful for your time and sharing all of This with our listeners. 

Kristin Fisher: Thank you so much

 


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