• Kevin Natapow


YES! Not only should it be done annually but you should do it at least twice a year, in August/September and again in January. This is your chance to do many things:1. Assuming you are doing excellent inventory control (hint hint), physical inventory keeps your computer system accurate so orders and inventory valuation are correct.2. It also when you will discover all of the receiving mistakes that have been made since the last count- i.e. items mis-tagged, wrong price, etc.3. From a bookkeeping perspective, it allows you to determine loss from theft/damages4. On a practical level, it is also a great time to refresh major displays, pull damages from the floor, and clean the entire shop and anything else that may need to happen.


Question 4:

Here is another good one that still ties into our discussion on inventory control and ordering- BTW- I LOVE this theme! Could not have picked it better myself.

How many units per style is a reasonable quantity for an initial purchase to really get a feel for turnover? Eg. Buying string dolls- how many string dolls total, how many units per style? Dolls are just an example, could be scarves, bags, pottery, etc.


Answer 4:



  • Kevin Natapow 


This one ties in quite nicely with the earlier question about initial min/max selection. String dolls are a good one and I will come back to them. In general, you should consider most items as an individual SKU and evaluate it on its own merit but if you have, for example, 10 scarves from a vendor that are all the same item- i.e. “whoop-dee-doo scarf” but have 10 different colors. I would still keep them as 10 separate SKU’s but consider them in terms of their sales performance in the greater context. So, when doing item eval they may just make the cut in terms of qty or $ sold or even be just under your thresholds, but you may want to still keep the item(s) based on how they do as a whole. On the other hand if 7 out of the 10 are amazing sellers and 3 barely make it, drop those 3 and keep the 7 that rock. Additionally, ask your existing or new vendors for their best sellers of any given product before placing a new order and many vendors, if you ask them nicely, will grant you an “allowance” on new items or new orders to get more colors/styles then you may usually carry with a 2-3 month trial period. Meaning, they will allow you to see what colors sell best for you and exchange some of the colors that do not go over well in your shop for credit to buy more of the ones that do. It is usually a 1-time deal and has a mutual benefit. Getting back to string dolls, I would not necessarily keep them as individual SKU’s and have them as an item that when placing orders (we did this with zulugrass necklaces) you take a quick look and see if you have any crazy overabundance of a certain style or are completely out of one you know is a great seller. With zulugrass, we had a chart inside our vendor folder with all the colors we carried and I had an employee decide, knowing we needed 200 necklaces, what color distribution to allocate to various quantities. You really don’t ever want just 1 of an item, unless it is really expensive, so picking new items is always a bit of a risk. See the guide in the discussion on picking reorder points for initial orders as a guide and it will help.


  1. So, for you, the zulu grass necklaces were only 1 sku?



  • Kevin Natapow


Yes- with about 15-20 variations but we rung them up as 1 SKU


  1. I remember having trouble differentiating between a SKU (an actual ITEM) and the variants which all have different BARCODES in our system



  • Kevin Natapow 


SKU is what rings up when you scan the barcode- it is a unique item in your inventory. Some systems can take an “item” and create variations and print unique barcodes but they should be then considered separate SKU and ordered accordingly.


  1. Good Paper (or other) greeting cards: each type its own sku, or one sku for “Good Paper greeting card”?

(In our system, one sku. Thinking about splitting them up for reordering. Should we?)



  • Kevin Natapow 


Good question- YES YES YES


  1. I find it so much easier to do reorders if I have every variant as a separate sku.


  1. M’kay. I was heading that way but you threw me off with the zulugrass necklaces being all one thing. Maybe ’cause I’m not familiar with them. (smile emoticon)


  1. Even with the colors of necklaces, I would have a hard time tracking which colors do best if they didn’t have separate skus.


  1. I like having everything be individual skus ’cause I’m often crunching numbers or working on reorders from home where all I have to go on is what’s in the computer – can’t look at the shelf and see which card is which.



  • Kevin Natapow 


It really is the only sane way to do it. A note though, for something’s, i.e. Andes Gifts, it will create tons of SKU’s in your system, which may put you over your target 1.7 number. In that case it is ok to consider them in your mind as 1 SKU but have it in your inventory as many as there are for doing item evaluation.


  1. btw……LOVE andes gifts!
    And in my system I enter ANIMAL HATS as one SKU – say its AG-001
    But then the computer can either generate separate “barcodes” for each variant OR I can type in the barcode that is on their tag if I am reusing it. 
    Zebra – 123456789
    Panda – 22345677
    Tiger – 334567888 etc. 
    This allows me to evaluate the SKU “Animal Hats” but also allows me to evaluate each style of hat. Which one sells and which ones don’t.


  1. I’ve got my turnover spreadsheets set up so that I can group items together semi-automatically (“all Ganesh earrings between $19.40 and $26.10”) for instance and consider them as a single group-sku. 

    Did I mention the bit where I love math? Also spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are like video games. Mmmmm.


  1. Does that sound right to anyone else or am I completely doing this wrong?!?!?!?!


  1. Remind me what POS you use?


  1. I use Shopify – some loves, some not so much. Changing and growing – so glad they just announced an easy free app to connect to my Quickbooks rather than PDFs etc etc – another conversation.



  • Kevin Natapow 


Not sure if I fully understand how your system does that but bottom line, you want to be able to assess each items performance at any given time and decide to keep, discontinue and adjust individual min/max for each item. Zebra hats might be the bomb one year and not so much the next so you will want to be able to adjust your min/max seasonally to account for that.


  1. Quickbooks POS or vanilla Quickbooks?


  1. I do not use Quickbooks POS – i use QB for accounting purposes only


  1. I have a question – prob. a new post if anyone is interested – about the new October 2015 EMV requirements


  1. Yes, EMV requirements – good topic!



  • Kevin Natapow


See new thread (below) for EMV requirements