How to improve inventory management and brand awareness in boutique retail

: December 10, 2020

We recently held the second Small Business School Challenge, featuring teams from some of the top MBA programs in the United States (Carnegie Mellon, Yale, UC Berkeley, and more) to answer this question.

The retail businesses who participated came to the table with the challenges they’re facing, especially during the economic difficulties caused by COVID-19. They were paired up with an MBA team to brainstorm solutions and come up with a plan to alleviate their biggest pain point.

Over 48 hours, the small businesses and MBA candidates worked side by side… virtually, of course.

The teams collaborated via video to find clarity and create a path to greater sustainability and success. Thanks to the studies of the MBA students, small business owners received cutting-edge, data-driven insights to help them make decisions going forward.

1 key suggestion from the MBA teams: to improve inventory management while boosting brand awareness by leveraging technology

How to improve both inventory management and brand awareness

The retail business case study

April Blooms, a clothing boutique, wanted to find a better way to organize and keep tabs on their growing inventory of apparel and accessories. They also wanted help with brand awareness.

The solution

April Blooms worked with MBA students from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Here’s what the MBA’s came up with for them: 

For brand awareness:

  • Revamp the website homepage
  • Generate more user-generated content to build trust and reputation
  • Create blog and video content (styling, trends, tips, and tricks) for social media channels
  • Implement affiliate marketing with influencers 

For inventory management:

  • Reduce inventory on hand and increase the rate of turnover by leveraging a pre-order system to better predict seasonal demand in inventory
  • Implementing predictive analytics to give customers personalized suggestions

By implementing these measures, April Blooms can continue its success and flourish as one of the top hubs for local designers and fashion enthusiasts.

The MBA takeaways for your business

If inventory is your issue, try a pre-order system so you can have a better understanding of your demand. 

If you’re looking for more brand awareness, try creating helpful multimedia content on your social platforms that is engaging and aligns with your business. And be sure to engage with customers on social media, especially if someone reaches out with an issue.

MBA advice for your retail business

The Small Business School Challenge brought together great minds from both worlds, both business owners and future entrepreneurs. Their combined knowledge and experiences produced a wealth of advice for any small business. 

If you’re interested in this meeting of the minds, add your contact details on our ‘I’m Interested’ form to recieve the announcement of the next challenge.

Until then, stay tuned for more takeaways and tips in this series from our MBA teams that can help your small business.