How to Use Software to Manage Your Inventory Strategy

Before you read…

Printavo is simple shop management software. We help you streamline your business, keep jobs moving forward and your team on the same page.

Scheduling, quoting, approvals, payments, customer communication, automation and more. With Printavo, you’ll work smarter–not harder.

We’re collaborating with DGI Apparel for an upcoming webinar on June 5th to demonstrate how their innovative platform makes it easier to track blank apparel prices and order from multiple vendors without the headaches of maintaining numerous logins and accounts for free!

Sign up here for the webinar and scroll below to learn why your shop can benefit from a better inventory management system. 

Part of running a successful print shop is having a handle on your inventory. Still, many shop owners will be the first to admit that staying on top of where all your raw materials come from can get out of hand quickly, especially when it comes to blank apparel. 

That’s because it’s common for shops to source their blanks from multiple vendors so that they’re able to offer customers apparel from several manufacturers. 

But does that mean you should stock your shop with dozens of different varieties of blanks? Well, it depends. 

In-house inventory vs. virtual inventory 

Having in-house inventory for shops can be beneficial, mainly if you offer your customers the same 2-3 variants of colors and blanks from the same manufacturer. You can use tools like Printavo’s order management to see which brands and colors have been most popular for your customers. From there, you can gauge what kinds of shirts and other apparel you should stock in-house to stay on top of your order volume. 

Similarly, you can gauge your orders based on seasonality. If you’re using more red and green-hued apparel for the winter holidays and standard black and gray tees for the back-to-school season, you can build a more comprehensive ordering plan for the year instead of scrambling to stock up with a week’s notice. 

The drawback is that if you’re limited on space, palettes of blank shirts can start taking up a lot of room quickly. In addition to reviewing your order history, you can reduce the amount of overstock by setting minimum quantities on all your customer orders. 

Ensure you work with vendors who suit your shop’s volume and order sizes. For example, if you’re a mid-size print shop with seasonal bumps and dips in volume but not as busy as a high-volume contract printer, you wouldn’t want to be obligated to order dozens of cases that jam up your production area and start to collect dust in your slow season. 

Stocking Profitably

Suppose you want to stock in-house inventory but want to keep that inventory solely for your bigger, repeat customers. In that case, you can also review your order history in Printavo to see who’s been the most profitable for your shop throughout the calendar year. 

Stock up on blanks accordingly for those customers, and order your other supplies as needed for different customers. 

If you’re looking to run a seasonal promotion, you can also order a select style and quantity of shirts, especially if you’ve had success with such programs in previous years. Just be sure to build a price factor into your sales promotion so you can have any leftover stock already paid for with the program.

Use Online Stores and Virtual Samples to Gauge Demand

The beauty of printing custom-branded merchandise in the digital age is that you can use tools like virtual samples and short-run online stores to understand better how your customers and their shoppers will respond to different products. 

InkSoft Online Stores are a great companion to Printavo’s order management system since you can easily create product mockups and change out product selections in an online store with minimal upload work or web design experience. 

This technique is a great way to help your customers gauge what products are the most popular sellers in their stores, making it easier for you to decide what blanks to order when setting up a reorder for their store. 

InkSoft’s Online Designer also makes dialing in what your customers want regarding blank apparel simpler, simplifying your ordering process with your vendors. Give your customers a designated set of blank products to pick from for their printed apparel, and from there, they can drop in their artwork, so all you need to do is order the apparel to fit their order request. 

Here’s a look at how the InkSoft Online Designer works:

Drive More Demand with Scarcity Marketing 

You can also pair the power of InkSoft Online Stores with the concept of scarcity marketing. In essence, you’re tapping into the “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out) buyers get when there’s a limited quantity of a piece of merchandise. This approach can work well for customer stores with limited timelines, like fundraisers or charity events. 

Typically, these stores will have a timer showing how much time is left to make a purchase, which can help drive that incentive to buy. If your customers use language like “limited edition” or “limited supply” with the custom T-shirt they are selling to raise funds, this approach can help drive more people to the store to purchase. 

It’s a powerful technique that helps drive sales for your customer stores. If your customer has a general idea of how many shirts they plan to sell, you can preorder that quantity and set terms on a price for that bulk order so your shop still nets a profit even if the fundraiser doesn’t necessarily hit its goal. 

Pair that selling strategy with the power of automated abandoned cart emails, and you have a surefire way to help drive attention to your customer’s apparel orders. These automated emails are configurable inside InkSoft Stores and can trigger an automatic message to people who don’t complete their checkout process. 

Here’s how to configure automated abandoned cart emails to snag additional revenue that might otherwise be lost. 

If your shop wants to streamline its inventory management process and have a more transparent way of seeing apparel pricing across the industry, consider our friends at DGI Apparel. They’ve designed an accessible and intuitive platform for comparing your custom vendor prices on blank garments.

DGI Apparel: Free and Simple

DGI was launched in October by a former screen printer and fellow graduates from MIT. Account creation is free and takes less than a minute. Since it’s built by professionals who’ve worked in the industry, they’re focused on maintaining a platform built for print shops. 

Why Inventory Management?

Having a resource like DGI Apparel for your shop offers critical benefits that can help you run a more profitable and streamlined business, especially if combined with the power of Printavo’s job management and InkSoft’s e-commerce tools.

DGI Apparel

 

Here’s a look at six key benefits: 

1. Better Margins

You need to run a profitable business and stay aware of your bottom line. Blanks are often the most significant cost item for print shops, so saving even a little can make a huge difference. If you’re more aware of prices around the blank apparel industry, you’ll be able to maintain better margins and stay profitable. DGI Apparel provides greater vendor pricing visibility in a simple, easy-to-read layout. These stats can help you and your team make more informed decisions on where you source your blanks, so it’s beneficial to your bottom line.

2. Improved Turnaround Times

Meeting tight customer deadlines is a constant in this industry, so anything that helps you shave down the time between creating the order and delivering the printed merch enables you to stand above the competition. DGI Apparel gives you access to delivery dates to better estimate how soon you’ll get the blanks, which you can factor into your overall production time and promised-by dates. It empowers your team to plan and manage your inventory effectively, ensuring timely customer delivery.

3. Wider Selection for Customers

Today’s customers want a more refined selection than what they may have in previous decades. Some customers will be OK with the affordable, boxy T-shirt option. Still, depending on the market, they may be more interested in a higher-end, retail-inspired garment made of softer fabrics or higher-quality construction. DGI Apparel makes it easier to price out and source various apparel options with the largest comprehensive catalog in the industry to help you meet those demands.

4. Less Cross Training Required

Everything in your shop requires cross-training for owners and employees– the press, the software, the conveyor belt loading, and packing orders. DGI’s system is easier than some platforms for newcomers to the industry, which means it’ll be simpler for people on your team to know how to navigate and utilize their tools.

Plus, if you’re a newer business learning the ins and outs of sourcing and pricing blank apparel, DGI’s platform is a user-friendly option to help you maintain a more profitable business.

5.  Maintainable Relationships with Vendors

If you’re already working with a preferred vendor you like, DGI Apparel can be the perfect companion. Your relationship with vendors remains unchanged; you’ll just speed up the ordering process. With a more straightforward system, you can still enjoy the benefits of perks like rebates, pricing tier goals, and other vendor promotions. Plus, DGI Apparel seamlessly integrates with your vendor accounts, ensuring you don’t miss out on any benefits you already enjoy.

6. Transparency on Shipping Minimums

Free shipping minimums are visible with each vendor search, so you can optimize shipping costs instead of getting bogged down in unexpected freight costs. This makes it easier to strategically plan your orders for crucial high-volume periods like the holidays or back-to-school season. You’ll be able to hit your minimum threshold on orders and avoid unnecessary shipping expenses.

With the power of Printavo’s order and shop management and InkSoft’s e-commerce tools combined with DGI’s capabilities, you can run a more efficient business with three platforms built especially for print shops and decorators.

You’ll be able to reduce the clutter of paper invoice stacks, and the confusion of countless vendor website tabs open all at once, plus lessen the extra training time you need to get your team on board. 

Ready to learn more about the power of DGI Apparel’s functionality? Sign up for our June 5th webinar here!

About Printavo

Printavo is simple shop management software. We help you streamline your business, keep jobs moving forward and your team on the same page.

Scheduling, quoting, approvals, payments, customer communication, automation and more. With Printavo, you’ll work smarter–not harder.

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