In the ideal world, I would always order exactly the right number of the right sizes and right colors and styles. (And the right people would always walk through the door!) But, in the real world that doesn't always happen.
In the four months that Zoe has been open, I've started to build on the number of special orders that I place for my customers. Believe it or not, I had included a line item for special orders in my business plan! The special orders can come from a variety of circumstances. Sometimes, a customer will want a different color than I stock in the store. Sometimes, they want a different size. Sometimes they aren't sure what they want and ask me to help them meet a particular need through one of my designers.
I really enjoy being able to provide my customers with a special service like this. Recently, one customer tried on an item and discovered she needed the next largest size. When I told her I'd be happy to check availability from my supplier and order it for her, she was delighted. She commented "I've never even thought of asking someone to do that for me!"
Sometimes, I'm able to provide the customer with information immediately - when I know what the supplier has available, the cost and lead times. Other times, I will email them with color swatches and options and we will determine what meets their needs. It's always easier when something is a "staple" that the company makes consistently or it is a recently arrived item (for example, it is easy for me to order more Fall items now).
Next up: Sidewalk Sale!