Data should be the cornerstone of every company's decision making process, from early stage startups to large corporations. Bridal boutiques are no exception.
Many bridal shops think they are too small to necessitate basing their decisions on data. Or, they are so enmeshed in the day to day operations that they simply haven’t looked into how to use their store’s data to improve profit and cash flow. This is completely understandable. That said, any business that wants to increase its bottom line and/or increase owner compensation needs the ability to make sense of data.
Let’s explore how you can use your bridal store’s data to make profitable business decisions.
Data-Driven Decision Making for the Bridal Industry Key Takeaways:
- Clean accounting data is the first step — You cannot make good, data-driven decisions if your underlying assumptions are incorrect.
- Financial data comes from your point of sales system (BridalLive) and your accounting system (QuickBooks).
- A business intelligence software tool (BridalVision) allows you to understand trends and patterns from your store’s data in order to make better decisions.
- The BridalVision platform is the only business intelligence solution tailor-made for the bridal industry.
- BridalVision pulls store data from BridalLive to help with inventory management, profitability and growth decisions.
- Dashboard and reporting data tells you what you need to do to build the business of your dreams without the guesswork.
- If you are not using digital tools as described above (think paper or non-industry-specific platforms), you are at a huge disadvantage as compared to other stores who are using these powerful tools.
Simply speaking, when we say your store’s data, we’re referring to all the numbers “under the hood” of your business. Some of these are obvious, and some require a bit more digging and calculation. Your data, and the ability to read and interpret your data, comes from your financial software stack — typically QuickBooks, BridalLive and BridalVision.
Here are just a few examples of the kind of data you can get from each tool in your financial software stack:
What it does: Focuses on customer management, point of sale, inventory management and purchasing.
Examples of the data you can get:
- Total sales
- Cost of Goods Sold
- Inventory on Hand
What it does: Functions as your general ledger and combines purchasing and sales data from BridalLive with all other company expenses. It is used for monthly reporting and annual compliance.
Examples of the data you can get:
- Total Net Profit
- Total Liabilities & Equity
- Net Cash Increase/Decrease for the Period
What it does: Automatically analyzes your BridalLive data to provide industry-specific key performance indicators. It puts the most important numbers at your fingertips, so that you can make great decisions for your bridal store.
Examples of the data you can get:
- Designer performance ranking and turn rates
- Gown scoring for bridal market buying decisions
- Suggested sale prices for inventory phase-out and liquidation
Clean Data is the Cornerstone to Profitable Business Decisions
It may sound obvious that a well-oiled accounting system is the foundation to a profitable business, but we often hear BIG questions about the future from bridal shops that have no reliable financial records. Clean accounting in BridalLive and QuickBooks is a necessary first step, as we covered in Lesson #5: Accounting and Bookkeeping for Bridal Shops. Once you have that financial foundation, we can look backwards to understand the past, and forwards to understand possible opportunities.
Getting clean data in place doesn’t have to be overwhelming. But, it does have to get done if you want to use good data to drive your decisions (and if you need to...ahem...file your taxes). We at BridalVision Financial do catch-up-clean-ups in our sleep...or at least… while you sleep! Just reach out if you need our support.
If you already have cleaned up books, it’s time to put that sparkling clean data to use!
Business intelligence software transforms your data into actionable insights so that you can take strategic action. Business Intelligence tools make the complex simple and accessible, helping you to identify your next best move.
For example, all bridal stores need to make decisions about sample inventory purchases. You might buy based on trends, designer minimums, or what you think will sell well in your store. Savvy store owners will analyze their sale and inventory data to make more informed buying decisions. Business intelligence tools take this analysis to another level and make the whole process a whole lot easier.
BridalVision’s business intelligence tools analyze your BridalLive sales and inventory data to rank your gown buying options based on what is most likely to drive profit at your store. Once each of the gowns have been ranked, the Buy Sheet allows you to optimize your buys as a whole. When you are making your final buying decisions, you can analyze across lines by grouping similar styles with the click of a button, and select the best choice for your store.
Not only is this a huge time saver, but knowing what inventory to buy and avoid can potentially save a bridal store thousands of dollars every season.
Bridal store owners need quick-and-easy-to-use software that is industry specific and affordable. Luckily, business intelligence software for the bridal industry already exists.
The BridalVision platform was built to finally provide bridal shops with access to the same kinds of data that larger corporations use to build profitable, thriving companies.
How It Works
BridalVision automatically pulls BridalLive data, in real time, to help with inventory management and profitability decisions — for both long-term and on-the-fly decisions.
First, you’ll use the Data Cleanup tool in BridalVision — a user-friendly tool that ensures that your BridalLive data is in good shape.
Then, you use the BridalVision tools for profitably managing inventory, from buying at bridal market, through phase out and liquidation.
Before we get too into the nitty gritty of the BridalVision platform, let’s cover the primary parts of your business that a business intelligence tool like BridalVision can help you improve.
As we covered in the Inventory Management Lesson, inventory management can make or break your business. Not buying enough inventory can stifle growth, while overbuying inventory or buying the wrong inventory can saddle your business with unnecessary debt. Similarly, phasing out inventory at just the right time is crucial for optimizing the amount of cash and space available to your business.
Below are a few examples of the inventory management parts of your business that a software tool can simplify:
- Setting and planning an inventory budget.
- Determining which designers and lines are performing or underperforming so that you know when, and how, to drop or add a new line.
- Understanding which gown styles and price points drive the most revenue.
- Using data to know how and when to phase out obsolete inventory.
- Putting together a buy sheet based on predicted gown performance using your stores sales and inventory data, including gap and speed bump analyses. Building a list of exactly what to include in each sample sale based on a gown’s performance including aging, sales history, and trendline.
Financial Intelligence and Performance Reporting
In addition to inventory decisions, business intelligence software allows you to take the next steps in your business’s growth process with confidence and ease. The financial and performance reporting that a software tool can simplify will help you:
- Gain a 360 degree view of where you are now, where you were, and where you need to go for a more profitable store.
- Focus on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that matter for bridal stores.
- Understand how your store compares to bridal industry benchmarks and targets.
- Instantaneously get a complete cash flow picture.
- Eliminate surprises and make better business decisions.
- View what-if scenarios to take the guesswork out of big decisions.
The most important part of having a dashboard and reporting data that you can analyze is the magical ability to know what you need to do to build the business of your dreams. Software tools take the guesswork out of inventory and business growth decisions by crunching your store data into an easy to interpret format.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this free resource on Building Your Bridal Business!
While free content is amazingly helpful and can pinpoint opportunities within your business, if you find that you want a bridal business professional skilled in finance and accounting to help you build your ideal bridal business faster and more profitably, we’d love to help!
Bridal Profit Accelerator
If you like this resource, you’re going to LOVE the Bridal Profit Accelerator where we go deep into these topics and more. Get access to bridal business experts, and set and hit goals that drive your business forward.
Accounting, Advisory, and Financial Services
Trying to do everything on your own does not always help your bottom line. Explore how working with BridalVision for your accounting, profit coaching, or a mix of the two can propel your business to new heights.