Michaela Wessels from Style Arcade: Merch Planning Pro Hacks | #251

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Michaela combined left and right brain thinking to create a range planning secret weapon

Ep 251 Michaela Wessels
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Nathan Bush is a director at eCommerce talent agency, eSuite. He has led eCommerce for businesses with revenue $100m+ and has been recognised as one of Australia’s Top 50 People in eCommerce four years in a row. You can contact Nathan on LinkedIn, Twitter or via email.

Michaela is an experienced Retail & Ecommerce Professional. Merchandise Financial Planning & Management form the foundation of her professional background with over 15 years experience in Multi-channel Retail & Ecommerce. Michaela is passionate about enabling retailers to use their product data for growth.

When you start out with your business, you don’t lie awake at night dreaming about your ROAS. You’re dreaming about your product and how it’s going to change the world!  Today’s guest holds product in a similarly high regard, so she’s built the ultimate tool to help. Michaela Wessels is the Co founder and CEO of Style Arcade, an application that pulls everything about your products’ performance together in one place – sales, stock, future orders, Google analytics – so you can ditch the spreadsheets.  Michaela is passionate about using product data for growth and Style Arcade is a culmination of everything she’s learned over her 15 years of working in this field.  

“It really became kind of a secret weapon in terms of optimising buying and planning.

Michaela Wessels

Size Right

“Sizing needs to be run by algorithms.  It’s way too hard in Excel and you won’t get it right. So first off, get a tool that can give you size accurate recommendations on products. And then in terms of looking at your whole range and saying, should I extend my size range? Your data will tell you, which is really good.  Very comforting to know if you’ve got an opportunity to extend your size range, either smaller or larger, your data will tell you. 

So lean on your data points. Have a look at your size run. Say it runs from extra small to extra large. If your extra large, in the first few weeks, is consistently selling out and indexing, say 10 to 15% of your total sales before it breaks a size, you can be sure that an extra large is an opportunity for you and then just test it, say with two to 5% of your units.

And then you’ll eke your way to improving and knowing where your sweet spot is, where you’re like, that’s my size ratio, that works every time for me.”

Customer hacks

“Actually the one thing that surprises and delights me at the same time is that the users,these power users can hack the Style Arcade system a bit like a game.

You watch them working in it and you’re like, how did you guys know to do that? You’ve literally hacked the system and found a way better way to do something than we’d have imagined it could be done. Because it’s a very flexible tool. You can do a lot with it. And some of the things they do, I’m just amazed.

We have to credit our customers and our users for a lot of the features. They vote on features, they give us loads of feedback. We work to hand in hand with them like partners really.”

White tops are in!

“One of our brands, I remember they were with us for maybe eight weeks. We spotted an opportunity and we were just doing a training session with them and we said, there is this opportunity in your data that says you need to spend double the amount on white tops. And they were like, oh? it’s a really random suggestion, but they took it and they ran with it because they could see it in the data.

They made $6 million in a few months from that decision. Because you double the amount of white tops, they sell out and you go, oh gosh, I can double again. So these kinds of insights just really quickly make a big impact for businesses.”

Questions answered in this episode include
  • What are your golden rules of buying?
  • What’s one feature of range planning tools that you would love to exist, but haven’t seen yet? 
  • How ‘real time’ does real-time inventory need to be when you are dealing in fashion?

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