While the drops model has reigned supreme in recent years, ongoing supply chain issues mean that retailers need to be extra careful with their buys.
Embracing EDITED’s data capabilities, we analyze whether restocks have moved into favor among retailers, delving into replenishment rates and recent email communications.
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EDITED’s key takeaways
- As the supply chain crisis accelerates, retailers need to be mindful of their product investments. Restocks can carry less risk as previously successful items can help bring back customers who previously missed out.
- Replenishment rates have increased since pre-pandemic levels across luxury, sportswear and sneaker retailers – Gucci has seen an uptick from 4% in 2019 to 17% in 2021.
- Communications are key to promoting restocks and can help retailers build a similar level of hype achieved by new drops. Creating urgency with subject lines, utilizing customer content and responding to feedback and providing early access are noteworthy strategies here.
What are the benefits?
They have a proven track record
Having previously sold out, reinvesting in these products carries less risk for retailers than dropping new lines as they’ve already proven successful with your customers. You can also act on feedback here, such as restocking in a new color option.
They help drum up hype
As with exclusive drops, sought-after restocks can help build anticipation among your customer base and lead to quick sales over fear of missing out again. The ongoing supply chain crisis has also hugely delayed new season stock, so calling out collections that have arrived back in the warehouse can keep your communications fresh in the interim.
They can help improve customer satisfaction
With restocked products successfully tried and tested by shoppers, make sure you listen to and engage with reviews. Bringing back bestsellers in response to customer demand will help your audience feel valued and heard. It can also help bring back customers who previously missed out and were left disappointed.
Emails: Havaianas, Sports Direct, Urban Outfitters
Have replenishment rates changed?
Looking across luxury, sportswear and sneaker brands, replenishment rates have generally increased since pre-pandemic 2019 levels, reinforcing the idea of a shift towards restocks. While Gymshark and Adidas buck the trend in the sportswear market with less replenishment YoY, the latter has seen an uptick for sneakers in 2021 vs. 2019, as has Vans. Other sneaker brands follow a similar suit with a clear upward trajectory in replenishment rates over the past two years.
The picture is also particularly apparent for luxury, a market that typically favors the drops model’s exclusive and limited-time nature – all of our five analyzed retailers have seen an uptick in replenishment since 2019. Gucci stands out here, with its replenishment rate jumping from just 4% in 2019 to 17% in 2021. COVID-19 severely impacted this market as consumers reevaluated discretionary expenditure. As a result, restocking timeless classics and top-performing products may be a safer way to maintain a brand’s status than investing in lots of riskier trend-led drops. Gucci’s latest online concept store, Gucci Vault, encapsulates this idea, selling rare and vintage items from its archives.
How are retailers promoting restocks?
The Frankie Shop sticks to regular communications
The cult brand has a clear communications strategy when promoting new arrivals and “back in stock” items within emails, pushing the former on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the latter on Saturdays. This strategy has been noted since 2019. Messaging is also pared back and consistent, with “Back In Stock!” a typically used subject line.Emails: The Frankie Shop
Lulus utilizes email subject lines
In contrast to The Frankie Shop, Lulus uses its email subject lines to create a sense of urgency and encourage its customers to shop items before they sell out again. In recent emails, capital letters, emojis and time-sensitive messaging, including “urgent” and “don’t wait,” stand out.
Lulu’s Email US – Aug 26, 2021
SKIMS taps into its community
SKIMS nurtures brand loyalty by listening to its customers and restocking in-demand collections. For example, a recent email featured Instagram comments from its followers asking for its Fits Everybody collection to be replenished. “You asked, we answered” is also noted within its restocks messaging, making customers feel valued and heard.
SKIMS Email US – Oct 31, 2021
Dunelm focuses on Christmas
With ongoing supply chain problems creating worries over shortages this Christmas, Dunelm recently called out its restocked products and highlighted that they would be delivered in time for Christmas. With delays continuing into 2022, retailers should clearly communicate when products are ready to ship – this is particularly important for homeware retailers with longer lead times.
Dunelm Email UK – Oct 30, 2021
Kai Collective hypes best-sellers
After its Mayan plissé set drop sold out in 24 hours in August, the retailer encouraged customers to sign up for priority access to its restock, providing size, color and length details to help determine quantities. In October, it built hype before the restock by utilizing customer content and encouraging shoppers to “set your alarms.” Subscribers then had two hours early access using the “password: collective.”
Kai Collective Email US – Oct 26, 2021
Taking cues from streetwear, the drops model has become an increasingly popular strategy among retailers and this is unlikely to change any time soon. However, restocks are also becoming more apparent across retailer promotions and replenishment rates have grown accordingly. The current supply chain problems will only continue into 2022, meaning retailers need to be extra careful that their buys are hitting the mark with customers. Reinvesting in bestsellers and customer favorites carries less risk and through detailed promotion, retailers can achieve the same level of hype associated with new drops.
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